If you are looking to better understand the world of Child Custody & Parenting Arrangements, our lawyers at Rockwell Bates are here to help.
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.
A common area of a divorce is custody of children. Parenting plans have the ability to specify terms and conditions such as communication channels and possible dispute channels that can ease and further assist in ensuring the divorce process is as smooth as possible.
What is a Parenting Plan?
A Parenting Plan is a written agreement that lays out the terms and conditions for the children. It includes who the children live with, who they spend time with and communicate with. This plan includes details on how to resolve any disputes, any special requirements for the children, and who is responsible for these special needs.
The Parenting Plans can be flexible, or they can be formally drafted proposals by which both parties must abide.
Once it is written and signed by both parties, without threat, coercion, or distress, then the agreement becomes active.
The importance of a Parenting Plan for your Children
Rockwell Bates understands the importance of a Parenting Plan, especially for the children. You don’t want the children to be pieces on a game board. They are people and deserve respect and love.
Our Human 2 Human philosophy works with you for positive outcomes without the need to worry about costs and other factors.
We advise you on how to talk to your children about separation, how to help them with mental or medical issues. We have access to dispute resolution experts and family counselors to ensure this time is not the toughest in a young person’s life.
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
The way in which your Family Law team gave me a very clear road map of the divorce process and what to expect as well as an explanation of the costs to get to each stage - made me feel totally in control of my whole divorce proceedings. I would absolutely recommend Daniel and his team!
The Rockwell Bates team worked with my tax advisors and accountants to construct a complex estate plan and family business charter that protected the wealth I had created via our family business interest but gave us enough flexibility & clarity to enable me to help my children in their own business and personal ventures.
Child Custody and Parenting Plans FAQs
The lawyers here at Rockwell Bates are well-versed in Family Law. Any question you have, no matter how small you may think it is, you should ask. You can ask what the fees will be, how long could it take. We can advise you on what happens if custody can’t be arranged by lawyers and it has to go to the courts.
If both parties are agreeable, then yes, you can get custody of your children without a lawyer. We don’t recommend this, however, in case there is conflict or one party wants to change the arrangement. It can get very complicated.
If a court deems both parents are unsuited to be the guardian of a child, then a member of the extended family will be considered to be the guardian of the child. If this is not possible, the court will decide on foster care.
If parents cannot agree, with the help of lawyers, on a parenting agreement, the process moves to the courtroom. There, a judge will decide what is in the best interests of the child, based on arguments from both presenting sides.
You can negotiate your own parenting arrangement, but we suggest this may not be in your best interests. There can be things you may not consider in a complete agreement package, and we wouldn’t want you to end up in a bad position from which you can’t negotiate your way out. We want what is fair for the child and for you too.