Parenting Arrangements & Parenting Plans

We can help you create a parenting agreement that works best for your family

Our team are more than legal practitioners; we're dedicated partners in your journey through family law matters. We'll collaborate with you to create parenting arrangements that reflect the best interests if your children.

If you've recently separated or divorced and have children with your ex-partner - or are considering ending a relationship, organising parenting arrangements will likely be at the top of your list of priorities.

In this short video, Tonkin Family Lawyer Cassandra Rush shares a great overview of how Parenting Arrangements and Agreements are formed.

Expert Guidance

You can count on our guidance to understand your options and create parenting agreements that best prioritise your family's needs.

Supportive & Compassionate

Our family lawyers take a holistic approach to our work, understanding the emotional challenges involved and guiding you with care every step of the way.

Fair Negotiations

Utilising collaborative law and mediation, we strive to reach amicable agreements that allow you to move forward positively, avoiding unnecessary court proceedings whenever possible.

How is a Parenting Plan made?

To make a Parenting Plan, both parents will often attend a Mediation session or consult with a Family Law practitioner to decide on arrangements based on the best interests of the child or children involved and what is practical and suitable for adults involved.

If the relationship is amicable, parents can decide to make a non-formal Parenting Plan or do so in Mediation or with the help of lawyers. Making parenting arrangements can be simple if you and your former partner are happy with a less formal agreement.

It's still a good idea to seek independent legal advice to ensure you understand the difference between a Consent Order and a Parenting Plan. A Parenting Plan can be later formalised if either parent feels necessary.

What factors do I need to consider before deciding on parenting arrangements?

There are many emotional and practical considerations when it comes to creating a parenting agreement that will meet the unique needs of your family, including:

  • Who the children spend time with, and how day-to-day care will take place
  • When changeover will be, and the percentage of care each parent will have
  • Children's financial, educational, cultural and health-related matters
  • If both parents share decision-making responsibilities for their children, or if one party will be the sole decision-maker
  • Contact with grandparents and other significant family members

You and the other parent will also need to decide if legal formalisation is necessary when you make parenting arrangements. This requires both parties to agree on the arrangements and draft them into Consent Orders. Making Parenting Orders (Consent Orders) can be a straightforward legal process if parents agree.

Your parenting arrangements must be drafted in a specific format and submitted to the Federal Circuit & Family Court of Australia for the Court's approval. Fees will be paid for the submission and for legal advice or mediation required.

If you have sole parental responsibility, it's not generally necessary to seek the other parent's consent when making decisions. Still, it's imperative to seek legal advice before making arrangements that the other parent may object to.

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What if my children are a little older and have strong ideas about who they wish to live with?

If your children have clear views on which parent they'd like to live with, these can be considered by the Court or in mediation. If one parent objects to what the other wants, further negotiation or Court proceedings may commence.

Depending on the age of your child or children, their opinions and wishes will likely hold weight. Recent amendments to the Family Law Act have further defined the right of children to be heard in family law matters, as well as more of a focus on the actual best interests of the child or children.

Is equal shared parenting arrangements the standard for parenting after separation?

In family law matters, arrangements like 'week about' have become more common in the last decade, but there is no default setting that legal practitioners or the law defines. Having a meaningful relationship and quality time with both parents is a core principle of family law in Australia, but there is no rule on how this needs to happen.

One parent may work shifts or seasonally or travel frequently for work, making a 'week-on/week-off' arrangement impractical for all parties. You or your ex-partner may be finalising study that requires months of placements, or one parent may live across the street from the children's school or extra-curricular activities, making it more convenient for everyone if children are there more often on school days.

Every family is unique, and circumstances will likely change over time, especially if separation occurs when children are young. Repartnering, a new work role or someone in the family having a health issue that requires more support or means they cannot fulfil parental responsibilities for some time frequently occur after a break-up. Doing what is best for your child, or children, should be your core focus, along with prioritising a meaningful and healthy relationship between parents and children - however that best works for your family.

What happens if my ex-partner or I want to move?

This depends on whether both parents agree on a move, how far it is and if both parties seek shared parental responsibility. Living arrangements that concern a move that impacts either parent's ability to have a relationship with their child or children will require careful consideration.

If parents disagree on a workable solution, it may be necessary for further legal negotiations or to have a court decide on a suitable course of action.

What is a Parenting Order?

A Parenting Order - or Consent Order - is a binding legal document that formalises a Parenting Plan. It's a Court Order usually based on how parents would like to raise their children post-separation. It outlines parenting agreements and is formalised by a court order, becoming a legally enforceable agreement.

If parents cannot come up with a parenting agreement that both parties are happy with to submit to become a Consent Order, or if one or both parent wishes to proceed with a Federal Circuit & Family Court of Australia application without prior agreement of arrangements, the Court makes the final call on any areas that parents cannot agree on.

Being a court order, if either parent breaches the Order, legal action may apply in some cases - depending on the severity and circumstances of the breach.

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Our Parenting Arrangement Services

Parenting Arrangements

Tailoring support to your unique family dynamics, we offer expert assistance in drawing up Parenting Plans and Parenting Orders (Consent Orders). Prioritising the wellbeing of your children, we ensure fair and workable arrangements for all parties involved.

Consent Orders

Simplify the legal formalities of your family agreements with our seamless consent order processes. We provide clarity and legal security, ensuring all parties understand and agree to the terms.

Drafting Parenting Plans

Our comprehensive approach to drafting parenting plans involves customising solutions to your family's unique dynamics. We prioritise cooperation, responsibility, and parenting arrangements which promote the best interests of the children.

Resolving Parenting Issues or Disputes

Navigating complex parenting challenges can require targeted support. Our experienced team is here to help by offering guidance and assistance in resolving parenting disputes.

Grandparents Rights

We understand the importance of grandparents' involvement in their grandchildren's lives. Our experienced team works to ensure that grandparents are acknowledged and included after a divorce or separation, fostering meaningful connections within the family.

Child Support

Receive strategic guidance on child support matters from our experienced team. We ensure fair and equitable financial arrangements and can assist you in understanding Services Australia Child Support Agency calculations.

Family Violence

For those affected by family violence, our compassionate team offers assistance, legal protection and comprehensive support. We prioritise safety and wellbeing, providing guidance and legal representation to ensure a secure and supportive path forward.

Court Representation

Our experienced legal team diligently advocates for your rights in court proceedings. We ensure a comprehensive understanding of your case, combining legal expertise with a commitment to achieving optimal outcomes.

Ready to navigate your parenting arrangements with confidence?

Please book an appointment with one of our experienced team members today or call us at (03) 9435 9044. Your journey to best interests Parenting Plans & Parenting Orders begins here.

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