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Do I have a say in my child's life?

By Surendra Bennett - 14 Jun 2018

If you are the father of a child, you may think that you automatically have a say in your child's upbringing (such as schooling, religion, where they live etc) however that may not be the case. Legally you only get a say in your child's life if you are their legal guardian.

For children conceived after 1 July 2005, the father and mother are joint guardians of their children if they were married or living together in a de facto relationship at any time from the time the child was conceived until the birth of the child. If not, then the mother is the sole guardian. An exception to this is where you are registered as the father on the child's birth certificate.

If you were not living in a de facto relationship or married to the mother during the required times and you are not registered on the birth certificate, then you can make an application to the court to be appointed as a guardian. The court would usually grant the order unless doing so would be contrary to the welfare and best interest of the child.

Whether you are a guardian or not, every parent of a child has the right to apply to the Family Court to determine the care arrangements for their child and how much time the child spends with each of their parents. It would be necessary that any disputes as to paternity be resolved prior to making an application for care arrangements.

Contact one of our family law experts, Surendra Bennett if you want advice on your guardianship rights.


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