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Parenting Disputes

Parents who successfully co-parent after separation are able to prioritise the needs of their children.

Reaching agreement about arrangements for children can be stressful, daunting and, at times, distressing. 

However, putting in place practical and child-focussed arrangements often assists children to adapt to their parents’ separation and encourages resilience.

Parents who successfully co-parent after separation are able to prioritise the needs of their children. It is understood that children benefit from having meaningful relationships with both of their parents and with other important people in their lives.

There are many ways that to try to reach agreement about parenting arrangements including mediation, co-parenting counselling and lawyer assisted negotiation.  If agreements are able to be reached, it is important that agreements are properly documented in a clear and concise way.  It may also be appropriate for the agreement to be documented in a manner that is legally enforceable to protect the rights and responsibilities of both parents.

However, it is not always possible to reach agreements about living and parenting arrangements for children, particularly if issues of family violence, substance abuse or other risk issues are relevant to your situation.

If a Court is required to determine parenting arrangements for a child, it gives careful consideration to the following matters:

  • The importance of children having meaningful relationships with both parents;
  • The safety of the child and both parents and an assessment of all risk issues;
  • The views of the child (depending on the age of the child);
  • The nature of the child’s relationship with each parent;
  • The likely effect of any change in the child’s circumstances, especially if a proposed change will impact on the time the child is able to spend a parent;
  • Any practical difficulties including travel between each parents’ home;
  • The maturity, gender, lifestyle and background of the child and parents;
  • Each parent’s attitude towards their child and their parental responsibility;
  • Any family violence involving the child or a member of the child’s family; and
  • Any other matter relevant to the best interests of the child.

The Family Law Courts have a wide discretion to make any parenting orders that are considered to be in the best interests of a child. 

Before commencing negotiation, mediation or Court proceedings, it is important to have advice about your rights, responsibilities and obligations as a parent or caregiver.  Please contact us to schedule an appointment with an experienced family lawyer.


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