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Parenting Arrangements

Get advice from an expert family lawyer

Your children remain your top priority, so connecting with a family lawyer who shares this perspective is crucial. Dealing with the aftermath of a relationship breakdown can become even more challenging when children are involved. Recognizing that your children take precedence, Point Cook Family Lawyers is ready to offer guidance on all matters related to parenting and child support, including the creation of child support agreements. Although these issues can be intricate, we take pride in ensuring our clients stay well-informed.

Our family lawyers possess extensive expertise in handling divorce cases when one party resides overseas or is hard to locate. At Point Cook Family Lawyers, we strive for prompt and cost-effective completion of your divorce application.

If you’re contemplating separation, seeking early legal advice can be immensely beneficial. Consulting with a lawyer before separation is advisable, as it equips you with an understanding of the forthcoming process, enabling informed decisions concerning your children and assets. Beyond offering legal guidance on your rights and responsibilities, our attorneys at Point Cook Family Lawyers can also recommend separation counseling or mediation services to provide additional emotional support during this challenging time. Our family lawyers can promptly arrange a conference, whether by phone, Zoom, or in-person, to initiate discussions about the necessary steps for resolving issues related to parenting arrangements.

We can give you advice about:



Who cares for the children after separation?

Our lawyers at Point Cook Family Lawyers can assist you to come up with an agreement as to which parent the children will live with after separation and how much time they will spend with the other parent. When making these decisions, parents are always encouraged to regard the children’s best interests as the paramount consideration. It is generally considered that a relationship with both parents is in the best interests of the children. If you and your former partner agree on who the children will live with and how much time they will spend with the other parent post-separation, you can enter a Parenting Plan and avoid the need to go to court. A Parenting Plan is not legally enforceable but can be finalised by way of Consent Orders filed with the Court. If you and your former partner cannot reach an agreement over parenting arrangements for your children, you may need to commence proceedings in the Family Court or Federal Circuit Court. This can only be done after you and your former partner have made a genuine effort to resolve the dispute through Family Dispute Resolution, if appropriate to do so. Point Cook Family Lawyers can assist you to resolve your parenting matter outside of Court or through the Federal Circuit and Family Court necessary. 

How much time will the children spend with each parent?

If you and your former partner can come to a parenting agreement between yourselves, you will have the flexibility to tailor the arrangement to best suit your needs and those of your children. If the Court is required to intervene and determine parenting disputes, it will start by considering whether children ought to spend equal time with both parents. Where this is not practicable, the Court then considers the Family Law Act which states that the children ought to spend ‘substantial and significant time with each parent’. ‘Substantial and significant time with each parent must include weekdays, weekend days, holiday time, and special occasions. When determining whether equal time or substantial and significant time with each parent is practicable, the Court will consider factors such as how far apart the parents live from each other, each parent’s capacity to implement an equal or substantial and significant time arrangement, and the impact of any such arrangement on the children. At Point Cook Family Lawyers, we can assist you in resolving parenting arrangements without the need to go to Court and also where it does become necessary to go to Court.

Who is responsible for making decisions about the children?

It is important to remember that parental responsibility is not impacted by the breakdown of the relationship between two parents. Both parents will continue to have what is known as ‘equal shared parental responsibility’ for their children under 18 years of age unless the Court says otherwise. By law, ‘parental responsibility’ refers to the legal obligations and duties which parents have for the care, welfare, and development of their children. This includes but is not limited to their education, health, religion, and living arrangements. This does not mean that both parents will have equal time with the children, but that they are required to consult each other and make joint decisions about major long-term issues regarding the child. It is not always easy for parents to share parental responsibility and to co-parent effectively in the wake of separation. There are circumstances where it may become necessary for one parent to make an application for sole parental responsibility, such as where there is family violence, abuse or high-level conflict between parents. Our lawyers at Point Cook Family Lawyers understand this and can assist you to navigate shared parental responsibility post-separation or advise you on sole parental responsibility in certain circumstances.

What are the best interests of the children?

Wherever the Court is required to intervene in parenting disputes, its primary focus is the benefit to the child of having a meaningful relationship with both parents, subject to the need to protect the child from physical or psychological harm. It is generally in the best interests of the child to have a relationship with and spend time with both parents, save for extreme circumstances of physical, sexual, or psychological harm or abuse. Other factors taken into account when determining the best interests of the child include the child’s relationship with each parent and any extended family members, the willingness of each parent to facilitate the child’s relationship with the other parent, the likely effect that a change of circumstances will have on a child and in certain cases, the child’s own personal views. Our lawyers at Point Cook Family Lawyers will assist you through any parenting dispute in a manner that ensures that the best interests of your child are always the primary consideration.

What is the process if to relocate with children?

Where one parent wishes to relocate either with the children or away from the children, this can make it difficult to maintain the children’s time with each parent. If parents have equal and shared parental responsibility, they should try to make a genuine effort to resolve the issue amicably between themselves. Otherwise, a parent may need to make an application to the Court to either get permission to relocate with the children or to prevent the other parent from relocating with the children. The most effective way to ensure that the other parent of your children does not attempt to relocate with your children is to make sure there are parenting orders in place which address the issue. If you wish to relocate with your children and cannot agree about relocating, you can apply to the Court for Orders to allow you to move. The Court will consider the best interests and welfare of the children before granting permission. Point Cook Family Lawyers can assist you with finalising parenting orders. Otherwise, we can advise on the issue of relocation where there are no parenting orders or where you wish to relocate with your children in spite of orders.


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