If there is some sort of family violence involved, it can have a significant impact on parenting matters.
The Family Law Act (FLA) has clear consideration for such a scenario.
What is family violence?
Family violence is quite different from domestic violence. It is classified as a criminal act of assault concerning married couples or members of the same family. It can be observed in several forms such as the act of offensive taunts, causing damage or even destroying the property, and denying a family member of financial autonomy.
Added to that, child abuse or violent acts directed to children in a family setting can also be counted as family violence. No matter if it is physical, emotional or psychological, they are legally offensive. If you or your acquaintance is suffering from family violence, seek help from a good family lawyer or whichever city you reside in.
There are several ways in which family violence impacts parenting matters.
Parents’ Ability To Take Decisions For Their Children:
If the child is being exposed to any sort of family violence such as overhearing threats or witnessing the assault of any family member, it can cause trouble for him. It can negatively affect his mental state.
Although it is presumed that both parents should have equal share when it comes to deciding what is right or wrong for a child, the court has the right to cut their parental rights. If any of the parents are found guilty of family violence, he or she will be kept away from the child for obvious reasons and the victim parent will have the full control deciding what is good for their child. The court must be convinced enough that the child will be in good hands before it decides to give sole parental responsibility to one of the parents.
How Much Time Can Parents Spend With Their Child?
Just like a guilty parent is rebutted of an equal share in their children’s decision making, you may no longer be able to spend much time with your kids. The court considers each and every factor involved and decides what’s best for the children. Arrangements can be made for substantial timing such as weekends or fixed weekdays time as long as it is in the children’s best interests.
What If The Child Had a Good Relationship With Both Parents?
With recent amendments in Family Laws, the concept of “friendly parent” is no more considered as it was used wrongfully in several cases. So even if the child shares a good relationship with both the parents, the court’s decision is based on the facts which ensure the best for the child.
The court tries it’s best to keep the child safe from any type of physical or psychological harm due to abuse, neglect or family violence. Thus it gives greater weight to family violence provision that the personal relationship shared between the parents and the children. In long term decisions, the court can also look into current and expired Domestic Violence Orders (DVOs) when concluding what in the best interest of the child.
If you find yourself or someone else in the situation of harm due to family violence, you should take immediate actions. As a measure of safety, you can move out to your relatives or someone you can trust upon. If you find yourself helpless with this, you can contact some of the free communities that work for such cases and may help you with urgent accommodation and counseling required to get you through.
Even most of the lawyers in Toowoomba or nearby cities have a dedicated team to help you with such a stressful situation. Next is reaching out for legal help. You should start by filing a Police complaint and making a domestic violence application. At this point, it would be wise to consult some legal advisor to help you sort out your position in a much better way, both legally as well as emotionally.
Andrew Crooke is a Director and an Accredited Specialist in the Family Law Team at Murdoch Lawyers. With exclusive practice in Family Law for over 20 years, Andrew is one of the most preferred Family Lawyers in Toowoomba and Brisbane. www.murdochs.com.au