Custody, access and guardianship of a child is the most important aspect to think about when working out a parenting arrangement. All families are different and no parenting arrangements are the same. It is important to take into consideration the children’s best interests. Separation has no effect on a parent’s responsibility to their children. It is a good idea to set up some arrangements relating to the children before you separate.
where the child lives and with whom.
the arrangements that are made for the child and the parent with whom the child does not normally live to spend time together.
the arrangements for the child to have telephone, email or written correspondence with a parent or third party.
any matter which requires specific mention. It may involve matters relating to the child’s education, upbringing, medical treatment and anything else specific to you and your family.
Under the new Family Law system there is a presumption of equal shared parental responsibility.
For Example: both parents will have the responsibility to make decisions relating to their children such as schools they attend, what religion they practice etc. This presumption is rebuttable, meaning it does not always apply.
If the presumption for equal shared parental responsibility applies, then the Court must consider whether it is in the best interests of the children to spend equal time with each parent and if not then whether substantial and significant time is in the child’s best interest. In deciding these issues the Court will look at things such as:
how far the parents live from one another;
the parent’s capacity to implement arrangements;
the ability of parents to communicate with each other and;
the impact of the arrangement on the child.
If you do reach agreement and want to have your agreement formalised by way of a Court Order, you can proceed by way of an application for Consent Orders relating to parenting.
We encourage people to try and work out arrangements relating to their children between themselves because they are the one’s who are usually best able to do this. But if they cannot do this themselves they are required to visit a Family Dispute Resolution Centre to try and reach an agreement prior to instituting court proceedings. Parties have to make a genuine effort to resolve disputes before commencing proceedings unless they fall within the exceptions.