Child custody is a legal term that refers to the legal and practical relationship between a parent and their children. Specifically regarding decisions related to the care, control, and maintenance.
In the event of a divorce or separation, custody of children often becomes a contentious issue, as parents may disagree on the best course of action for their children’s care. In these cases, a family law lawyer may be hired to represent one or both parties in the legal proceedings.
There are two main types of child custody: physical and legal . Physical refers to the actual physical time the spent with each parent, and is often referred to as child care arrangements.
Legal custody is also known as guardianship and relates to the decision-making power regarding the children’s upbringing. For example, decisions related to education, medical care, and religious upbringing
In NZ both parents are automatically granted guardianship and have decision making rights over their children’s education , sports , health matters and more.
NZ law dictates that parents are to consult with one another and endeavor to resolve decisions jointly.
If the parents cannot agree on a guardianship matter such as which school their children should attend then an application ought to be made to the family court for a Judge to determine the matter based on the best interest and welfare of the children.
One parent cannot move to a different location , such as moving to Sydney or Melbourne without having first discussed this with the other parent. This applies whether to plans to travel are to immigrate to another country or a just a holiday. This rules also applies if you want to take your children outside of your city on holiday to another part of NZ.
Joint custody is a type arrangement in which both parents have shared physical custody of the children.
A 50/50 equal split known as shared care is the most common. This means that an equal amount of time with both parents as well as both parents having equal decision-making power regarding the upbringing. This arrangement can be a beneficial, as it allows a relationship with both parents to be maintained and provides a sense of stability.
Sole custody is where one parent has both physical and legal custody of the children. This is unusual and means that the children live with one parent and that parent has sole decision-making power regarding the children’s day to day matters. This may be granted if one parent is deemed unfit to have the children in their care, such as in cases of drug abuse neglect or family violence.
Disputes can be resolved through various methods, including mediation, negotiation, or a court trial. In mediation, a neutral third party helps the parents reach an agreement . In negotiation, the parents and their family law lawyers work together to reach a mutually acceptable agreement. If an agreement cannot be reached through these methods, the case may go to trial and a judge will make a decision based on the best interests and welfare of the children.
Family law solicitors play a crucial role in the family matters. Family solicitors are trained to advocate for their clients and work to protect their rights and the best interests of their children. They may negotiate on behalf of their clients, represent them in court proceedings, and provide legal advice and counsel throughout the process.
Family law lawyers are typically retained by one of the parents involved in these types of cases. However, in some cases, a court may appoint a lawyer to represent the children’s best interests. This is known as a guardian ad litem.
In addition to representing their clients in cases involving children, family law lawyers may also assist with related legal matters, such as spousal support, and parenting plans. They may also be involved in modifying existing parenting orders if there is a change in circumstances.
When hiring a family law lawyer, it is important to choose someone who has experience in this area of law and who is familiar with the local court system. It is also important to find a solicitor who is a good fit for your needs and who you feel comfortable working with.
Cases involving children can be emotionally and financially draining, and it is important to have a competent and compassionate attorney by your side. A good family law attorney will work to protect your rights and the best interests of your children, while also providing legal guidance and support throughout the process.