Making arrangements for the children is a high priority when a relationship breaks down. Stacks can provide advice and assist you to make a parenting plan that covers all relevant issues and is in the best interests of your children.
A parenting plan is an informal agreement between you and your former partner setting out parenting arrangements for children. It can cover a number of different issues, such as where the child lives, what time they spend with the other parent and how they communicate, the division of parental responsibility and decision-making, and financial arrangements. A parenting plan should be in writing and signed by both parents.
It is important to note that a parenting plan is not legally enforceable, although it is certainly a good first step following a separation or divorce. Having a parenting plan in place will allow you to see whether the arrangements you have agreed on are working well, and whether each parent is sticking to the plan. Where the lines of communication are open and amicable, you may find that a parenting plan is sufficient for your purposes. Should you wish to make the agreement binding and legally enforceable, you can apply to the court for consent orders. This can add a degree of protection just in case circumstances change down the track or a dispute arises.
If parents cannot reach an agreement about the care and support of their children, they can apply to the Family Court for parenting orders, meaning that the court will ultimately make the decision about parenting arrangements.
Decisions concerning children are important and the considerations involved can be complex. A Stacks family law specialist can explain all of your options and endeavour to help you to reach an agreement with your former spouse or partner without you having to set foot in a court.
Considering the best interests of your children
The Family Law Act places great emphasis on what is best for the child after the separation of their parents. The primary considerations of the court are that children should be protected from harm and that they should have a meaningful relationship with both parents to the greatest extent possible. Your parenting plan should be based on this principle.
This does not necessarily mean that there must be a 50/50 care split, but it does mean that parents and the court need to give consideration to the amount of time children spend with each parent. The idea is that the time children spend with each parent should be “substantial and significant”, and each parent should have an equal role in making major decisions concerning their children.
Need to speak to a family lawyer about making parenting plans? Call us today