Seeing a parent or a social event: which one prevails?

Posted on February 21st, 2018

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As children get older their priorities change, and friends and social groups become increasingly significant to them. This creates a tension between the importance of socialising children and the importance of children spending time with their parents – particularly the parent with whom they do not live.

The Family Law Act obligates a parent to do all they can to encourage children to attend with the other parent pursuant to Orders.

It is common for conflict to arise when children want to attend social events at the same time as they are due to spend time with the other parent. Courts have acknowledged this tension, but regularly remind parents of the need to be sensible and display common sense. The Full Court of the Family Court has gone as far as reminding parents that “…children are not parcels to be passed back and forward at the convenience of parents. Children have lives and routines of their own…” The Court reminds parents that Orders should be seen as providing a template around which they can build the time with their children but, in doing so, parents should try to adopt flexibility and common sense to promote the children’s happiness and well-being. Parents, however, should not underestimate the importance of the other parent in their children’s lives.

Agreement cannot always be reached, and consequently the Court remains available as an avenue for enforcement of Orders. In such circumstances parents are regularly reminded to consider both the practical utility, and the ultimate effect, of any Court proceedings on their children.

Ashleigh John, Associate Director at Mullane & Lindsay Solicitors, Newcastle
Ashleigh John 
is an Associate Director and Accredited Specialist at Mullane & Lindsay Solicitors and practices extensively in Family, Relationship and Matrimonial LawIf you require any assistance in this area please contact Ashleigh John to arrange a consultation or contact our Newcastle office.

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