One of the most difficult aspects of relationship breakdown is concern about arrangements for the care of children and their future, welfare and development. When parents separate, they usually have many questions and concerns such as:
- • Which parent will the children live with?
- • Who has day to day responsibility for the care, welfare and development of the children?
- • Who decides where the children go to school?
- • Who will care for the children during school holiday periods?
- • Who decides the religion of the children?
- • Who decides which medical practitioner the children should consult when sick?
The Family Law Act states that children have the right to know and be cared for by both parents, regardless of the parents’ marital situation. This is on the condition that children are adequately protected from the risk of abuse, family violence, harm and neglect.
Arrangements for the care of children, do not need to be determined by the Court. Some parents can decide on appropriate arrangements and do not need to formalise them. Other parents find it helpful for routine and certainty to have arrangements formalised. Some parents cannot agree on what is in the children’s best interests and need the assistance of a court order. Whichever scenario you are facing, the framework provided by the Family Law Act is helpful to consider.
The Family Law Act provides various options for formalising arrangements for care of children including:
- • Parenting Plans – written agreements that are signed by both parents but are not filed in the Court;
- • Consent Orders – a Court Order made by consent without either parent having to attend at Court;
- • Court Proceedings – before filing an Application to the Court seeking a Parenting Order, parties must participate in mediation, save for in exceptional circumstances.
If you are concerned about arrangements for care of children or would like further information about the process of negotiating and formalising arrangements, please contact us.
Make a confidential appointment with one of our highly experienced male or female Family Lawyers today