DOOLAN WAGNER - family lawyers sydney

Child Custody Lawyer

When it comes to your children,
quality representation matters

Children are often the greatest concern of any parent going through a divorce or separation.

At Doolan Wagner Family Lawyers, we understand this, and it’s why we aim for positive resolutions by pursuing the legal channels available to you.

The role of a child custody lawyer is to alleviate the burden of separation or divorce by providing professional representation for your interests. We, as practitioners of family law, are obliged to act in the best interest of children, and it’s a responsibility we take very seriously.

We also understand that your children’s best interests are also important to you, so you can feel confident that our advice will always be thoroughly and carefully considered with them in mind.

Areas we can help you with:

  • Child Custody Matters
  • Parenting Orders
  • Parenting Plans
  • Child Support Matters
  • Child Support Assessments

Speak to us today to see how we can best help you with your family law matter.

Representing the needs and interests of children and

Two of our Accredited Family Law Specialists are also Independent Children’s Lawyers.

As Independent Children’s Lawyers the Court puts its faith in us in complex parenting cases each and every day.

You can therefore be confident that our highly experienced family law team will be able to assist you in any parenting case no matter what the issues may involve

Our practical and solution focused approach promises to secure you and your family the best possible future. We are experts in matters involving:

  • Sole parental responsibility
  • Relocation & Recovery Orders
  • Hague Convention
  • Substance abuse, mental health and psychiatric issues
  • Domestic violence & Child abuse
  • Children’s wishes
  • Blended families
  • Grandparents and other third party applications

Examples of past child custody cases we have worked on

In previous cases, we have:

Helped parents reach an agreement about whether their child should attend a public or private school and the financial arrangements

We understand that your child’s education can be extremely important to you. We are well experienced in helping parties with negotiating and formalising any agreement with respect to their child’s education and could do the same for you.

If you are in a situation where your ex-partner does not wish to engage in negotiations with you, we can also help you by advising you on the other methods that are available to you to achieve the outcome that you desire.

Assisted parents to reach an agreement on their child’s religious upbringing

We can also help you with ensuring that occasions of religious significance to you and your child are able to continue to be celebrated. Arrangements for special occasions, including Christmas, Ramadan, Eid, Passover, Hanukkah or Diwali, can be secured.

We have also helped parents in circumstances where one parent is an atheist while the other parent is not and has certain wishes in relation to their child’s upbringing.

Whatever your situation or religious belief, we understand that this is a particularly important and sensitive matter and will assist you and guide you through it to help you achieve the best possible outcome for you and your child.

Represented clients in relation to the immunisation of their children and also the undertaking of medical procedures and the administration of certain medications.

If you are in a situation where you have to make certain decisions about your child’s medical therapies and/or surgeries, we can help you. We understand that the decision you and your former partner must make in relation to your child’s health can be further complicated when you cannot reach an agreement.

Our specialist family lawyers are experienced in dealing with these matters and can help you and your former partner reach a resolution that is in the best interest of your child. If you find yourself in a situation where you cannot reach an agreement with your former partner in relation to your child’s medical treatment, we can also help you seek an appropriate order from the court.


When urgent action is required

We can take steps immediately to seek urgent orders from the court, and if appropriate, these orders can be sought on an ex-parte basis, i.e. without informing your former partner of those proceedings.

This can occur in circumstances where your former partner has absconded with your child or in circumstances where your child’s safety and wellbeing is at serious risk i.e. domestic and family violence.

Is supervision appropriate?

Sometimes, it may not be possible for your child to spend time with their parent. Spending supervised time with the parent may be the only other option that is available. If this is your current circumstance, then supervision can mitigate some of the risks that may be associated with your child spending time with their parent and also helps with organising some contact time between the child and their parent. Supervision can also provide a safety net guarding against serious allegations being made.

Types of supervision

Depending on your particular circumstances, supervised time can occur with the supervision of a relative or by way of a more formal arrangement, such as through a contact centre.

We can help you formalise any arrangements in relation to supervision. We can also help you identify various contact centres that may be appropriate to your situation and help with the process of making the contact arrangements.

Publically-funded contact centres

There are publically-funded contact centres that provide professionally trained staff to supervise children’s time with their parents. These contact centres generally have high security and keep detailed and objective notes of the visits. However, supervision through publically funded contact centres generally can have long waitlists of approximately 6-months in some instances.

Private contact centres

Another option is to hire a private commercial contact supervision service. The private commercial contact supervision centres generally have shorter waiting periods and can also provide detailed reports of each supervised visit.


Both private and public contact centres will require you to disclose certain information and complete an application before an assessment is made as to whether the contact centre can facilitate the contact. It is important that you provide full disclosure to allow the contact centre to make an objective and accurate determination as to whether it can facilitate the contact.

DW Family Lawyers: Our Commitment to Your Family’s Tomorrow

Navigating the delicate landscape of child custody matters requires a trusted partner with experience, commitment, and empathy.

At Doolan Wagner Family Lawyers, our dedication transcends legal representation; it’s about understanding your unique journey and ensuring that the welfare of your children and financial security are prioritised.

With a deep-seated commitment to delivering results that resonate with your family’s best interests, we pride ourselves on being more than just lawyers – we’re the legal guardians of your family’s future.

Our firm is built on genuine care, unwavering professionalism, and a promise to stand by you every step of the way.

Get in touch with us today, so we can help guide you to a better tomorrow for your family.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Child Support Assessment?

A child support assessment is a formal evaluation to determine the amount of financial support a parent should provide towards the cost of raising their child or children. The assessment uses a specific formula that considers various factors such as both parents’ incomes, the child’s living arrangements, age, and any special needs, among others.

The result of this assessment becomes the basis for the child support payments. If parents wish to deviate from this standard assessment, they can opt for the binding or limited child support agreement, but they must first have an assessment in place for the latter.

What are the two main types of child support agreements?

As we’ve just mentioned, parents can choose between the binding child support agreement (BCSA) and the limited child support agreement (LCSA) as alternatives to standard child support assessments.

The BCSA is a formal agreement that mandates both parties to obtain independent legal advice and offers more fixed terms. In contrast, the LCSA is more flexible and doesn’t require legal counsel but necessitates an existing child support assessment. The suitability of either agreement largely depends on individual circumstances, and having consultation with our child support lawyers can help you make an informed decision.

What steps should I take if I disagree with my child support assessment?

If you do not agree with your child support assessment, you can lodge a change of assessment form with Services Australia. An internal review will be conducted, and you have a 28-day window to outline your objections. It’s advisable to consult our child support lawyers to guide you through this process.

What does "best interest of the child" mean in the context of child support?

The concept of “best interest of the child” is a guiding principle in family law matters. Essentially, it emphasises that any decisions or actions taken in relation to a child should prioritise their well-being, safety, and overall development. While child support is primarily governed by the Child Support Assessment Act, the Family Law Act of Australia reinforces the importance of this principle.

Under the Family Law Act, the child’s best interests are paramount, ensuring that decisions related to custody, parenting arrangements, and financial support are made with the child’s welfare as the top priority. This includes ensuring the child has a meaningful relationship with both parents, is protected from harm, and receives adequate financial support.

How can we, as parents, ensure a fair child support process?

Parents should stay informed, engage in open communication, and, when necessary, seek intervention from their child support agency. If any disputes arise, it’s crucial to consult with our child support lawyer for guidance and to ensure fairness throughout the process.

How does domestic and family violence impact child custody matters?

Child custody cases can be significantly affected by instances of family violence. The court prioritises the child’s safety. If one parent poses a risk, the court might limit or supervise their time with the child.

What happens if one parent wants to relocate with the child?

Relocating without consent can complicate child custody matters. If one parent wishes to move, especially to a location that might limit the other parent’s access, they should seek consent from the other parent or a court order. Speak to our team to help you find the best resolution for this issue.

What if my ex-partner refuses to pay child support agreed upon in our binding child support agreement?

A binding child support agreement (BCSA) is legally enforceable. If one party fails to adhere, the other can seek intervention from the family court. By getting legal advice from our child support lawyers, we can help ensure compliance and address any breaches.

Can I enforce child support payments if my ex is abroad?

Australia maintains mutual child support agreements with several reciprocating countries. Depending on the jurisdiction, either a child support assessment or a court order may be recognised. Speak to our experienced family lawyer for the best advice regarding your situation.

Is the cost of private schooling covered by child support?

Typically, private school fees are not factored into the child support assessment formula. However, parents often mutually agree on sharing these expenses. If an agreement isn’t reached, one might consider a departure application.

Do all changes in my financial situation qualify for a child support assessment change?

Not all changes will qualify. There are specific criteria, and the reasons must be grounded in the ten provided by the CSAA. For instance, high costs related to a child’s special needs, significant parent income changes, or costs associated with intended education plans can be grounds. Our team can help you discern if your particular circumstances fit within these criteria.

Find out how our child custody lawyers can help you

Personalised advice with no obligation