How to Win Child Custody in Australia

12th August 2021

So, you had a child with your significant other. It may have been the happiest moment of your life at the time. Would you have imagined the possibility that you have to be separated from your partner and child? 

Unfortunately, not everyone ends up having the fairy tale ending with a white picket fence with their spouse and children. You may even be a couple that had an unexpected pregnancy and just could not make it work living together and parenting together. 

Now, the tough subject of child custody is on the table. Are you looking for 50 50 custody? Will one of you want primary custody? Could it get ugly enough for one of you to go for sole custody of the child? 

This can be something that eats away at a parent. The possibility that they will not have much if any access to see their child. 

So, you may be willing to do whatever it takes to make sure that does not happen. Here is how to win child custody in Australia. 

How to Gain Sole Custody

By the letter of the law, Australia's Family Law Act 1975 explains that the child's wellbeing is the biggest priority. In other words, courts need to take the child's threat to immediate harm or potential harm down the road into consideration. 

Say if there is a reason to believe that one parent is capable of or threatening physical abuse. That would give courts some of the biggest motivation to award sole custody to one parent. 

In reality, though, sole custody with a no-contact order is rarely awarded in Australian courtrooms. It only happened about 3% of the time in a 2014 study. 

Do not plan on being awarded sole custody with absolutely no contact from the other parent, but it can happen under extreme circumstances. 

How to Win Child Custody For Mothers

Statistically, it is very much in the mother's favour to win primary or sole custody of a child in Australia.

The study above shows that mothers were awarded primary custody 46% of the time and sole custody 27% of the time. Overall, that means that mothers won majority custody in 73% of the child custody cases. 

There is not much mothers really have to do other than show they are fit to care for a child. If they were already taking care of the child around the house and can stay in the same area that the child has his school his friends, that is even better. 

The biggest thing for mothers is not to have any extreme neglectful parenting habits or be an immediate threat to the child.

If not, they have a 94% chance to have at least equal custody of the child. 

How Can a Father Win Custody 

With the stats above for mothers, it is admittedly an uphill battle for a father to be able to win child custody.

By the letter of the law, mothers and fathers have equal rights to custody. But statistically, that is definitely not how it plays out. 

In that study, fathers were only awarded primary custody 3% of the time and sole custody 2% of the time. 

That means that fathers only have a 5% chance of getting majority custody of their child. Because of this, 26% of children see their fathers less than once a year in Australia. 

But, it does not have to be all sour grapes. Fathers can be awarded custody if they can show that it is in the best interest of the child. 

Say the mother struggles with mental health issues or a drug/alcohol addiction. The father's chances of winning custody would go up significantly. 

Sometimes, custody can be decided by what is in the best interest of the child. That can be as simple as having the most minimal disruption of the child's life possible. 

So, if a father can stay in the area that the child has their school and friends, and the mother has to move farther away for maybe a job, family, or financial reasons, that could improve the father's chances of winning. 

Child Custody Mediation 

This is how most child custody cases are handled. In fact, only 3% of them even make it to court, while about 16% go through mediation of some sort. 

Mediation can be done by a mediator, or even a lawyer or lawyers. It is a process by which parents can work together with a third party to come to an agreement about child custody. 

It is advisable to go into this with a plan for child custody that you are willing to take and to be prepared. Maybe you are fortunate enough to be in a situation where you and your partner are on good enough terms to have some talks before you even walk in. 

This is similar to a business negotiation where all parties need to feel satisfied. However, the most important thing is what is best for your child. 

Do I Need a Lawyer For Custody Mediation?

The truth is, it depends on what kinds of terms you are on with your partner. It also depends on how agreeable you think your partner is. 

If you have any doubt that your partner is not willing to cooperate without it turning into a battle, it may be best to have a lawyer present during the mediation for legal guidance. 

How Does Child Support Work for 50 50 Custody? 

If you are in a 50 50 custody or joint custody situation, you may not be thinking child support could come into play. 

There is still a possibility it might, even in this custody arrangement. Obviously, the main factor is the income of both parents. 

If one parent makes significantly more than the other, that parent may have to pay child support. This can be especially true when one of the parents was a stay-at-home parent before the separation. 

Be Prepared With Child Custody 

Before you dive into this legal mediation or even battle, you need to make sure you are prepared for everything that may come at you during this process. 

If you are preparing to enter a child custody case, contact us in order to get the right legal counsel and legal guidance for your specific situation. 

Please note the contents of this post is information only and not legal advice. 
If you require legal advice it is best to contact one of our lawyers who can review your particular circumstances and then provide tailored advice according to your needs.

Copyright © 2024 Koolik & Associates Lawyers. Website Powered by Oncord