Divorce applications and arrangements for children

Divorce applications and arrangements for children

The divorce process is never easy and if there are also children involved, there are a number of other considerations to take into account that can make the process even more challenging. Arrangements for children are extremely important when undertaking a divorce, and for parties that do not have appropriate arrangements in place, the court may not grant the parties a divorce.

When may the court not grant a divorce?

If there are no suitable arrangements in place for the future care of any children under 18 years of age or children who lived as part of a family before separation, the court may not grant a divorce.

In determining whether an application for divorce should be granted, there are a number of details related to the child that the court will look at that includes some of the following considerations:

  • the location and who the children will live with (additional information such as whether the property is a rental or is owned, and the available facilities and layout may also be considered);
  • what school the children are attending and the year level;
  • any health or medical issues;
  • supervision arrangements;
  • how regular the children will see the parent they do not reside with;
  • the means in which the family obtains financial support;
  • the amount of child support being paid.

In situations where the spouse or children cannot be found, the above details may not be needed for a divorce application to be finalised.

What happens if the court is not satisfied?

If the court is not satisfied that the appropriate arrangements have been made for the children, the hearing may be adjourned until a report has been obtained from a family consultant regarding the arrangements, as outlined in s 55A of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth). Although it should be noted that a divorce application would usually still be granted.