Child Custody Arrangements
November 1, 2023
DCJ meetings
DCJ Meetings: A Parent’s Guide for Child Advocacy
December 14, 2023

Going to the Children’s Court

childrens court

When DCJ removes your children from your care, they have to apply for Court Orders at the Childrens Court. DCJ is required to lodge the care application within three working days of your children having been removed. DCJ must give you a copy of this application which will state the date and time for your first court appearance.

Your first Court Appearance

You are able to be assisted by a duty lawyer on your first day of court which will be provided by Legal Aid. After your first appearance you will be required to arrange a lawyer to represent you.

The main decision to be made on the first court date is who should have the power to make decisions about your children including where your children should live temporarily. This is referred to as ‘interim parental responsibility’. If the court orders that DCJ have parental responsibility on an interim basis, it does not prevent the court from making a different order at the end of the court proceedings.

Parental Responsibility

Parental responsibility means all the duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which by law parents have in relation to their children, including issues such as:

  • Where your child lives
  • Who can have contact with your child
  • What religion/culture your child are raised in
  • Your child’s schooling
  • Your child’s medical treatment

Parental responsibility can be given to a parent, another suitable person such as a family member or DCJ.

Finding a Lawyer

After your first court date it is extremely important to speak with a lawyer about the allegations within the court documents and the concerns DCJ have which led to the removal of your children.

It is important to speak with a lawyer as soon as possible so you can file an affidavit which sets out your side of the story and responds to court documents DCJ has provided to the magistrate.

For free legal advice, see the below contact details:
Legal Aid NSW Family Law Intervention Unit – 1800 551 589
Aboriginal Legal Service – 1800 733 233
Law Access NSW – 1300 888 529

How we can help

If you would like a conference with one of our solicitors, please contact our office to arrange a conference.