Who do the children live with after Separation?

Child & Parenting Matters, Family Court Matters, Separation, Divorce, & Relationship Matters

Who do the children live with after Separation?

Working out the parenting arrangements for children can be one of the greatest challenges for separated parents.

Most parents can reach agreement about their children’s living arrangements without going to Court. If you reach agreement with your former partner in relation to the parenting arrangements for your child, there are benefits in confirming the agreement in writing. A family lawyer can assist you to do this.

What are your options to document your agreement?

There are two ways to record your parenting agreement:

  1. A parenting plan; or
  2. Consent orders.

Both options allow parents to tailor the parenting arrangements to suit their family’s unique circumstances.

A Parenting Plan is a written agreement which is signed and dated by both parents and sets out the parenting arrangements for the child. It is important to note that a Parenting Plan is not legally enforceable, and it is not registered with the court. A family lawyer can help you to prepare the parenting plan.

Consent Orders are more formal and are legally enforceable. Consent Orders are made by lodging the relevant documents with the Family Court of Australia. You should have a family lawyer prepare the Consent Orders for you.

Do the children automatically spend equal time with both parents?

Under the Family Law Act there is no automatic right for parents to spend equal time with their children. The family law says the paramount consideration is the best interests of the child.

The family court is required to consider whether spending equal time with each parent is both in the child’s best interests and is also reasonably practicable. If the court determines that equal time is not in the child’s best interests, they must then consider whether spending “significant and substantial” time with the non-resident parent is in the best interests of the child.

Family Law Parenting matters are determined on a case by case basis. The individual needs and circumstances of each child are considered by the family court when determining the best interests of the child. Other factors considered by the court include any wishes or views expressed by the child and the nature of the child’s relationship with each parent and extended family members. When deciding how much weight to place on the wishes expressed by a child, the court takes into account the child’s age and maturity.

Mediation before going to Court

Before making an application to the court parents are required to participate in mediation to attempt to resolve their dispute in relation to the parenting arrangements for their child. There are exceptions to this in certain circumstances.

There are a number of types of mediation, including child inclusive mediation. At Cairns Family Law Group we can assist you to identify the type of dispute resolution best suited to your family and can assist you if you feel that you cannot participate in dispute resolution with your former partner.

If you are going through a separation or are about to separate our Cairns family lawyers can help. Contact us for a fixed fee initial consultation today.

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