Parenting after separation

The divorce or separation of parents should not mean the end of the relationship between a parent and their child.

Following a breakdown of the parents’ relationship, the Family Law Act states the ‘best interests of the child’ are paramount, and the best interests of the child are served when the child can have a meaningful relationship with both parents and they are protected from harm.

Blanchfield Nicholls can advise you on how to think about your post-separation parenting arrangements in a child-focussed way to reach an amicable co-parenting agreement.

If a negotiated agreement is not possible, our lawyers can guide and advise you on the process of family dispute resolution and, if necessary, court proceedings.

Overseas travel with children

For many Sydney families it is not unusual for one parent to have been born in a country other than Australia. Many families are increasingly living, working, holidaying or visiting relatives overseas, which means questions around international family travel are on the rise.

Can I take my child overseas?

If you want to travel overseas with your child, you must always get the consent of your child’s other parent.

Or, if you are concerned your child is being taken overseas without your consent, you can ask the Court to make orders to stop the removal of your child from Australia.

There are also restrictions on taking children overseas if you have current parenting orders, or if there are parenting proceedings before the Court.

Blanchfield Nicholls can guide and advise you and your family on all child travel related questions.

Whether you are thinking about travelling overseas with your child, wanting to prevent your child being taken overseas, or if your child has already been taken overseas without your consent, we will provide the right legal advice for your circumstances.

Surrogacy

For some people wishing to start a family, surrogacy can be their best option. Surrogacy is an arrangement where a woman (the ‘surrogate’) carries and delivers a baby for another person or couple (the ‘intended parents’).

Altruistic surrogacy - where there is no financial gain for the surrogate - is legal in NSW. Commercial surrogacy is not.

In Sydney, for a number of reasons, intended parents often consider interstate or overseas surrogacy arrangements, and different regulatory frameworks apply in those cases.

The laws around surrogacy are complex, with many grey areas, and potentially criminal implications.

If you are considering surrogacy it is important to obtain accurate advice so that you understand your obligations and rights prior to making any decisions about your surrogacy arrangements.

Blanchfield Nicholls can advise and guide you through the legal implications and considerations surrounding surrogacy in NSW and overseas.

Adoption

Families and couples looking to adopt may do so for different reasons - an inability to conceive, a desire to adopt a child already in your care, or to adopt a step-child.

Adoption transfers the legal rights and responsibilities for a child from their birth parents to the adoptive parents.

The most suitable adoption process for your circumstances will depend on the type of adoption you are considering.

In most cases, the NSW Department of Family and Community Services (FACS) does not need to have direct involvement in a step-parent or relative adoption. The Blanchfield Nicholls team is able to guide you through the adoption process.

Families and couples wishing to adopt a child not already in their care should contact FACS directly in the first instance.

IVF

Recent legislative changes in NSW mean that single women, married couples, heterosexual couples, and same-sex couples all have equal access to IVF treatment.

However there remains legal complexity when it comes to recognising who is a ‘parent’ of a child, and who isn’t. For example, even if one parent in a couple is the biological parent of a child, different presumptions of legal parentage arise for lesbian couples compared to male same-sex couples.

For children conceived after 1 January 2010 in NSW, information about donors, including their name, date of birth, medical history and other personal details, is kept on a Central Register, which can be accessed by the child after they turn 18.

For children conceived prior to 1 January 2010 there is a voluntary system of information exchange, and access to certain ‘de-identified’ information such as relevant medical history.

Blanchfield Nicholls can advise and guide you through your questions around IVF and assisted reproduction.

Birth

The Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages is responsible for the registration of births occurring in NSW.

Parents must register the birth of their child within 60 days, or before they are 8 weeks of age. The hospital does not handle birth registrations.

Without registration, a child may not be able to access public facilities such as Medicare, Centrelink, schools, passports and licencing. Registering a child’s birth is free, but there is a fee to obtain a birth certificate.

Since 2008 both women in a same-sex relationship may be registered on their child’s birth certificate.

Stillbirths are also recognised through the registration process, and it is possible to apply for a certificate from the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages that recognises early pregnancy loss.

If you have questions or need guidance and advice on registering your child’s birth in NSW,
please get in touch for a confidential discussion about your family’s situation.