Child Custody & Parenting Arrangements

Child Custody & Parenting Arrangements

At Rockwell Bates

We work closely with our clients to avoid lengthy and hostile disputes around care arrangements and support issues, especially as those matters involve children who can often be caught up in the middle of a tug war. This is where our Human 2 Human philosophy really shines and many clients will seek the support of the Rockwell Bates Mental Health & Wellbeing Advisor to help them navigate the pathway for their own children.

We advise clients on all issues affecting children upon relationship breakdown. This includes living and spend-time arrangements, decision-making processes and specific issues surrounding their care such as which school they should attend, or what medical care they should receive. It is crucial that such circumstances be handled in a non-threatening, non-litigious manner for the wellbeing of all concerned.

Parenting arrangements can put strain on children and families throughout this difficult process. We can assist you with family dispute resolution for parenting plans that aren’t going well, so that you don’t have to go through the courts to gain a court order when it can be solved with our qualified lawyers. Preventing child abuse and family violence is the top priority at the Federal Circut Court. Family law is all about protecting children and enabling parents to agree on spend time arrangements, which maintains the best interests of the child, while allowing for quality time with each parent.

What is a Parenting Agreement?

A Parenting Agreement is a record between the parents which outlines the details of the care arrangements they have for their child or children. A parenting plan can ensure that the parents agree on a decision that makes it easier for them to take care of their children and uphold the best interests for their children.

Parenting arrangements often come in the form of:

  • An oral agreement between one parent and the other parent 
  • A written agreement or parenting plan that helps maintain family relationships
  • A consent order or a parenting order, which is a parenting plan that is put forward to the Family Court of Australia if both parties can’t come to an agreement

We understand that parenting after a separation isn’t easy. So, it’s important to remember that court proceedings may be inevitable if both parties can’t agree on what’s best for their children through appropriate parenting arrangements.

Who’s Involved in Child Parenting Arrangements?

It doesn’t just fall to the parents who are getting divorced to reach agreement in caring for their children. When a child’s parents separate, it can be difficult on them as well as their families. Therefore, it’s in the children’s best interests that they are supported through every step of the way with their families and not have to go through family dispute resolution.

In family law, the child, parent, former partner as well as extended family are individuals that can be responsible for making arrangements for the children. They can also assist the separated parents with how and when children spend time with them to enable a continuing connection and relationship.

Custody of Children after Separation

Parenting orders and parenting plans ensure that both parents can share parental responsibilities amicably and most importantly, their children aren’t neglected. In Family law, making parenting arrangements for the best interests of children is the main priority.

If both parents can’t come to an agreement, a family dispute resolution practitioner can help with smoothing out disagreements if you want to avoid putting your family through court. If you wish to gain a consent order from the courts, it’s best to get legal advice to assist you with the application.

Short-term arrangements for children

Making arrangements for the best interests of the child is an important part of parenting plans after a separation or divorce. The family law system believes it’s essential for parents to spend appropriate time with their child to maintain the integrity of their family. However, separating from your former partner can be stressful so making a short-term plan is the best place to start. It’s a temporary agreement that’s not legally binding and it prioritises your children’s wellbeing and safety. 

A short-term arrangement isn’t a legally enforceable agreement, it can help both you and your former partner in knowing that your child will be protected. Here are some things you should consider when making your parenting plan:

  • Where will the child live?
  • Who will the child live with?
  • Who’s going to stay at the family home with the child?
  • Who’s going to organise child support, medical and school needs?
  • Who’s going to support the children’s everyday needs?

If both parents can’t agree on a short-term plan or can’t create a parenting plan, they should seek legal aid and legal advice on a temporary agreement. Ultimately, the court makes the final decision if both parties want to file consent orders.

Types of Outcomes from the Family Court and the Family Law Act

The Family Court of Australia and the Family Law Act sets out the means for a parent to gain custody or the sole parental responsibility for a child depending on their individual circumstances. Each parent is entitled to legal advice and assistance from a family dispute resolution practitioner to gather information to uphold the best interests of their child. Parents can also apply for a child support assessment in order to come to an agreement from a family dispute resolution practitioner. 

The Family Law recognises that time arrangements are essential to maintaining connections between children and their parents. The legal effect of gaining consent orders from courts is imperative to ensuring children are protected from their parents divorce. The Australian Government and Family Court orders protect children from extreme cases where there may be a history of  child abuse or family violence that can harm the development of a child.

The courts can look at various aspects when deciding on a verdict such as:

  • Parenting plans that were agreed upon
  • Lifestyle of one parent to the other parent
  • Whether the parents can provide for the children
  • The relationship between the children and parent
  • Whether the parents have re-partnered or re-married and how it can impact the family relationships
  • Whether the parents can share parental responsibility for the children
  • The children’s views and relationship with their parents

In most cases, equal shared parental responsibility is decided upon by the court as it’s in the best interest of the children to maintain their relationship with both parents.

Get Legal Advice Today

Going through a separation or divorce can be hard on parents, but it can be equally if not more difficult for the child and extended family. Separated parents need to reach an agreement and make appropriate parenting arrangements for children to maintain their best interests. If parents can’t come to an agreement, they should seek legal advice and undergo family dispute resolution or apply for a court order. Our team at Rockwell Bates can provide you with legal advice so you can maintain your parental responsibility to your children and create a parenting plan that protects your children. Contact us today!

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