How does domestic abuse affect child arrangements?
Kelly Grigg, a family lawyer at Richard Nelson LLP, explains what the Court has to consider in children proceedings when allegations of domestic abuse have been made, before determining the outcome of Child Arrangement applications.
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What does the Court consider in children matters?
In children proceedings, the Court has to consider any allegation of harm before it can determine the outcome of any Child Arrangement application made.
Examples of harm include:
- Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling
- Coercive or threatening behaviour
This can include, but is not limited to:
- Psychological abuse
- Physical abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Financial abuse
- Emotional abuse
If any of these allegations are made, then the Court should list a Finding of Fact Hearing. This is a Hearing used by the Court to determine if the domestic abuse alleged to have been suffered by one party and/or the child did occur. This issue needs to be determined early on in the proceedings as if findings are made at such hearing, it may have a significant impact on the outcome of the original application.
The Family Court decides if the allegations are true by using the threshold of “on the balance of probabilities”, whereas a Criminal Court has a much higher threshold of “beyond reasonable doubt”.
To make such determinations, both parties are likely to have to give oral evidence and be examined and cross-examined on the allegations made.
The Court should only make a Child Arrangements Order if it can be satisfied that the physical and emotional safety of the child and the parent with whom the child is living can be secured and that the parent with whom the child is living will not be subjected to further abuse by the other parent.
Work with a family law specialist
Kelly Grigg is a family solicitor with a wealth of experience helping a wide range of clients on family law matters.
With years of experience comes the understanding that every family is different. Kelly offers assistance and representation at court on family law matters including divorce and separation; pre- and post-nuptial agreements; children matters; unmarried couples; financial matters; and domestic abuse and protection orders.
At what is a stressful and emotional time, Kelly prides herself in avoiding legal speak. She will clearly explain your options and the processes involved, so you feel in control every step of the way.
Kelly understands that family life can be hectic at the best of times and is happy to make arrangements for out of hours appointments where needed.
“I really can’t thank you enough for all you have done for me with my divorce. The process has been made easier by your understanding of my situation and the care you have provided. I breathe a sigh of relief that it’s nearly over and my future is a whole lot happier and brighter.”
“Kelly is a professional, friendly and supportive Solicitor. She helped my son gain access to his daughter, advising him every step of the way. I would highly recommend Kelly.”