For any family disputes and family law cases, Johnstone Crouse Lawyers are at your service to help go through the process with minimal stress.

Separation can be an emotional, confusing, and stressful stage in life which can cause major life decisions in relation to children, property, and finances. Some of the cases that we handle include separation, divorce, property disputes, parenting disputes, binding financial agreements, restraining orders, child support, child recovery orders, child relocation issues, mother's rights, father's rights, and grandparent's rights.

Over the years, we learned that family-related cases are the most emotionally difficult ones which is why we strive to ease the case as much as possible. To put it in context, the Annual Report of the Department of Justice for the financial year ended 30 June 2018 records that the Family Court received 15,745 applications in 2017/18, including:

with the average time to trial being 95 weeks!

Johnstone Crouse Lawyers' family law services include:

  • Parenting disputes

    Legal framework

    Best interest of the child

    The best interests of the child must be regarded as the paramount consideration.

    Primary considerations

    • the benefit to the child of having a meaningful relationship with both of the child's parents; and
    • the need to protect the child from physical or psychological harm from being subjected to, or exposed to, abuse, neglect or family violence.

    Additional considerations

    • any views expressed by the child and any factors (such as the child's maturity or level of understanding) that the court thinks are relevant to the weight it should give to the child's views;
    • the nature of the relationship of the child with:
      • each of the child's parents; and
      • other persons (including any grandparent or other relative of the child);
    • the extent to which each of the child's parents has taken, or failed to take, the opportunity:
      • to participate in making decisions about major long-term issues in relation to the child; and
      • to spend time with the child; and
      • to communicate with the child;
    • the extent to which each of the child's parents has fulfilled, or failed to fulfil, the parent's obligations to maintain the child;
    • the likely effect of any changes in the child's circumstances, including the likely effect on the child of any separation from:
      • either of his or her parents; or
      • any other child, or other person (including any grandparent or other relative of the child), with whom he or she has been living;
    • the practical difficulty and expense of a child spending time with and communicating with a parent and whether that difficulty or expense will substantially affect the child's right to maintain personal relations and direct contact with both parents on a regular basis;
    • the capacity of:
      • each of the child's parents; and
      • any other person (including any grandparent or other relative of the child);
      to provide for the needs of the child, including emotional and intellectual needs;
    • the maturity, sex, lifestyle and background (including lifestyle, culture and traditions) of the child and of either of the child's parents, and any other characteristics of the child that the court thinks are relevant;
    • if the child is an Aboriginal child or a Torres Strait Islander child:
      • the child's right to enjoy his or her Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander culture (including the right to enjoy that culture with other people who share that culture); and
      • the likely impact any proposed parenting order under this Part will have on that right;
    • the attitude to the child, and to the responsibilities of parenthood, demonstrated by each of the child's parents;
    • any family violence involving the child or a member of the child's family;
    • if a family violence order applies, or has applied, to the child or a member of the child's family--any relevant inferences that can be drawn from the order, taking into account the following:
      • the nature of the order;
      • the circumstances in which the order was made;
      • any evidence admitted in proceedings for the order;
      • any findings made by the court in, or in proceedings for, the order;
      • any other relevant matter;
    • whether it would be preferable to make the order that would be least likely to lead to the institution of further proceedings in relation to the child;
    • any other fact or circumstance that the court thinks is relevant.

    Equal Shared Parental Responsibility

    The presumption is that it is in the best interests of the child for the child's parents to have equal shared parental responsibility for the child.

    • Parental responsibility is full and independent
    • Parental responsibility may be exercised jointly or separately
    • Separation does not affect parental responsibility, but parenting plans or orders will

    The presumption of equal shared parental responsibility does not apply if there are reasonable grounds to believe there has been child abuse or family violence.

    The presumption of equal shared parental responsibility may be rebutted by evidence that satisfies the Court that it would not be in the best interests of the child for the child's parents to have equal shared parental responsibility for the child.

    This page is available to download here for the position for de facto couples and here. for the position for married couples.

    Useful documents available for downloading: