How to Resolve Parenting Disputes
As family lawyers, a big part of our practice is to help people sort out their disputes regarding their children. In this video, Accredited Family Law Specialist Bruce Provan discusses parenting disputes and how to resolve them.
My name is Bruce Provan I’m the Managing Director of Page Provan, Family and Fertility Lawyers. We’re a specialist legal practice in Brisbane, practicing exclusively in family and fertility law.
I want to talk today about parenting matters. Obviously, as family lawyers, a big part of our practice is helping people sort out their disputes regarding their children, and often, those matters can be resolved fairly quickly and inexpensively, but other matters can become protracted legal battles to go on in court, often for a number of years.
Obviously, many matters can be resolved out of court and before making an application to court, a person has to have tried to go through mediation with a family dispute resolution practitioner. In other words, a mediator who’s specially qualified to help people with their parenting disputes, and if people can reach an agreement through mediation, that could be documented, usually through a lawyer, either by a parenting plan or a court order and as lawyers, we can assist you with that.
But other parenting disputes can’t be resolved through negotiation, and they’re the matters that need to proceed to court for a judge to decide. Although the vast majority of matters that start in court are resolved through negotiation before it gets to a final hearing before a judge, and the way that happens is there can be a few things that happen.
One is the preparation of a family report, and what that is, is that people will sit down with a family report writer who is usually a social worker or a psychologist who’s experienced in the area, who will conduct interviews with both of the parents, often with the children, sometimes with new partners and other family members, and they will produce a detailed report which makes recommendations about what should happen with children, and often, the family report will lead to further negotiations, and that will resolve the dispute.
The simple fact of having someone independent, an expert, sitting down and expressing their view about what happens is a good signal to the parties about the way the matter should be resolved. Other times, there is an independent children’s lawyer appointed. An independent children’s lawyer is a lawyer who is appointed through Legal Aid Queensland and paid for by Legal Aid Queensland, and their job is to represent the children.
They won’t always meet with the children, but what they will do is that they will become familiar with all the relevant documents. Often, they will issue subpoenas to third parties or organisations and gather other relevant evidence, and their role is to make submissions to the court about what’s in the best interests of these children.
But often the appointment of an independent children’s lawyer and hearing their view of the matter can lead to a resolution of the dispute. There are those cases that will inevitably go to a hearing in court, and that can be a long and expensive process. But at Page Provan, we’ve had many years of experience in helping people through their parenting dispute, and if we can assist you, please don’t hesitate to get in contact with us.
My name is Bruce Provan, I’m the Managing Director of Page Provan Family and Fertility Lawyers.