Couple’s custody battle after spouse divorces ‘lazy’ husband

Welcome to Sisters In Law,’s weekly column that solves all of your legal issues. This week our lawyers and sisters Alison and Jillian Barrett of Maurice Blackburn are helping someone seeking custody of their children after a divorce.


My husband and I dated for eight years before we decided to divorce during the lockdown. Our once happy marriage fell apart when we spent 24 hours a day under the same roof and I realized how lazy he is. I basically had to do everything from work to cleaning up and taking care of the kids while he seemed to be doing as little as possible. After seeing how unmotivated he is, I decided that I wanted to take custody of the kids – I don’t trust him to be fun for them or do something educational while they are in his care. What are my rights when it comes to filing for custody? – Jen, WA


You are not alone when it comes to a lockdown divorce. Family law experts predict there will be a divorce tsunami in mid-2021 as couples who separated during the COVID lockdown reach the 12 months of separation required before they can apply for divorce.

You mentioned that you want custody of the children. To that end, you can make an arrangement with your husband by agreeing to a parenting plan or filing informed consent forms in court to make sure the arrangement is enforceable.

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If your husband does not agree that you have custody, you must apply to the family court for a decision. Even if he agrees, the court will still consider what is in the best interests of the child.

The Court considers that the child has a meaningful relationship with both parents and that the child must be protected from harm.

If there is family violence, abuse, or concerns about neglect it is an overarching factor that the court will consider in its decision.

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You did not mention how old your children are as the dish will also take into account the children’s views when they are mature enough. The court will also consider relationships with significant others such as grandparents and the parents’ ability to care for the child. This can include any characteristics specific to the child, yourself, or your husband that may be relevant, such as: B. Lifestyle, Maturity, and Background.

The court will make a decision called the “Education Ordinance” which will cover parental responsibility, communication, contact with significant others (such as grandparents, aunts and uncles), any nursing or developmental aspects (such as the schools they attend) and covers disputes. This parental order is enforceable.

Depending on the parenting order and child custody, you or your husband may be required to provide child support. The Child Support Agency uses a mathematical formula to figure out how much child benefit should be paid based on your individual income and the number of days the children are in each of your care facilities.

Finally, you might be tempted to give reasons for filing for your divorce.

The family court does not examine why a marriage failed and does not blame it in deciding whether to grant a divorce.

The only requirement is that the marriage has irrevocably collapsed. This usually shows up in being separated and living apart for 12 months with no reasonable prospect of reconciliation.

This legal information is of a general nature and should not be viewed as specific legal advice or relied on as reliable. Individuals in need of specific legal advice should consult an attorney.

If you have a legal question for Alison and Jillian to answer, please send an email to [email protected]

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