See Peter Hooper’s latest case note on the decision of MALDERA & ORBEL  Fam CAFC 135; which defines the role of the objects and principles of the Family Law Act when deciding a parenting matter.
Are you a self represented litigant in the Federal Circuit Court or know someone who is?
Here is a fact sheet on How to address a Federal Circuit Court Judge.
Dealing with government departments
- Ask for the name of the person that you are dealing with for future reference.
- Keep copies of documents provided to each department (record the date, person and section they are sent to).
Getting time off work
- Speak to your superiors and colleagues, and explain your situation.-Suggest a possible compromise – Friday afternoons off for an extra 35 minutes a day.-Set a period of time for this then review it.
- Know your limitations and let others know them too.
Smaller social network
- Consider volunteering where the work is done on a group basis e.g. fire rescue service, life saving, your child’s school Parents and Friends network.
Learning to cook
- Ask a friend to teach you to cook in exchange for doing some handy work, mowing their lawn, baby sitting or help with some other project they might have on.
- Borrow a book from the library on cooking basic meals.
Maintaining the car
- Look on the web for information on your brand of car.
- Get road service membership such as NRMA, RACQ etc for when you lock your keys in the car, have a flat tyre, your battery suddenly goes dead, or your car breaks down in an inconvenient location.
- Take a course in car maintenance.
Shopping for groceries
- Look on the web for home shopping grocery sites such as Coles or Woolworths.-Browse through each section and make a list of what you need – use this as a prompter each time you shop.-It also gives you an idea of the costs involved.
- Generic food brands are often cheaper and just as good as the label brands.
- Contact your local utility service company to arrange instalment payments for your electricity, telephone, insurance rates etc.
- Join a group that buys groceries in bulk – this can be cheaper.-These are usually co-ops or local community groups.
- Ensure that the important people in your children’s lives are invited to school plays, religious ceremonies, music recitals, sports events etc.
Understanding your children’s routine
- Have a calendar or notebook with important dates highlighted, e.g. sports carnival, swimming carnival, parent reading at school, doctors appointments, weekend sports locations, etc.
Organising care for the kids
- Talk to your child’s school and see what school care programs you can access e.g. before and after-school care, and holiday programs.
- Place a notice for parents in the school newsletter requesting child minding after school.-In return, offer something that you can do for the other parent.
- Enquire with your local community service provider about available child care programs.
Extract from “What about Me?” Practical ideas on looking after yourself after separation.
Extract from “Separating Respectfully” written by Lynne Clark B.S.W. Master of Family Therapy
“Your children will need to know what is taking place so that they can be reassured about how they are going to fit in their separated family structure.-They need to be told that they will be maintaining their ongoing relationships with both parents.
They are not to be informed of each parent’s story about what has taken place.-This is not the children’s business.-Ideally, parents should tell their children the same story, perhaps that their parents have decided to separate because they are no longer happy living together (or something similar).-You might like to add that everyone will feel a little sad and upset for while.-Older children may request a more detailed explanation.-While it can sometimes be a difficult task, information they are given should never include denigrating comments about the other parent.
More importantly, rather than lengthy explanation regarding why the separation is taking place, children need a lot of reassurance that they will continue to see both their parents, along with reassurance about how their parents will be arranging for this to take place.-They need reassurance that they will continue to be loved by both parents and that their wellbeing will be prioritised.-They also need to be reassured that they did not contribute in any way to their parent’s decision to separate.
By reassuring your children and not involving them in your dispute, you will be protecting their emotional wellbeing.”