Family Law Blog

Children and divorce: avoiding collateral damage

Posted by on 16 Aug 2011

Regardless of how wealthy, important or famous a couple is, when they decide to separate or divorce the health and wellbeing of any children should remain at the top of their list of priorities.

The recent separation announcement by Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony has caused the celebrity websites and tabloid magazines to go into overdrive trying to cover (or more realistically, guess) the reasons for the split, who is at fault and what will happen next. It was therefore only a matter of time before the hot-potato issue of child 'custody' raised its head!

Many magazines and media sites are reporting that Jennifer Lopez will be seeking sole 'custody' of the couple’s three-year old twins, Max and Emme. This would mean that the children would reside primarily with her and that she would be responsible for most of the decisions regarding their well-being while Marc Anthony would receive ‘visiting’ rights.

‘Sources’ have quoted factors such as Marc’s very controlling and allegedly emotionally abusive nature, the fact that he has rarely been seen with the twins since the news of the separation, and even the fact that he rarely sees his children from a previous marriage, as being possible reasons for the Courts to support Ms Lopez’s application.

The truth of the matter is that the Courts will purely consider what they think is in the best interests of the children, regardless of who the parents are.

If this were to happen in Australia, there would be a tendency towards applying shared parenting arrangements, which involve the children spending equal time with each parent, unless one parent could prove the other to be ‘unfit’.

As we have reported in a previous post, shared parenting is not necessarily the answer in every situation and can be difficult to manage successfully as it requires strong communication between the separated parents. However, it would be a starting point for the Court to consider, particularly if the parents could not reach an agreement themselves without third party intervention and litigation.

At Coleman Greig we can help you negotiate parenting arrangements without the need to go to Court. These arrangements will suit your individual circumstances and allow you to retain ‘control’ of how your family will work moving forward. Protecting your children from the emotional trauma of a bitter separation or difficult court appearances will help everybody involved. 

As a parent, the key to any truly successful parenting arrangement is to keep the lines of communication open with your ex and to put the needs of the children first.