Making Parenting Arrangements After Separation

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Use trusted Perth family lawyers to make parenting arrangements for your children when you divorce or separate.


A relationship break down can be a very painful time. When children are involved, emotions and anxiety can be at their highest. This can impact both parties’ ability to communicate effectively and can often result in more formal child custody arrangements.

The information on this page may be useful if you’re considering parenting arrangements for your children after separating from your spouse. If you’re unable to reach an agreement regarding parenting, and want to learn more about your options, reach out to our team of experts.


“I Just Want What is Fair!”


“I’d like what is fair” is the type of comment we frequently hear from parents involved in a difficult parenting matter.

Our Perth family lawyers are here to offer legal advice. However, parenting arrangements made according to the law may not be in accordance with the parental view of “fair.”

We need to emphasise that parenting arrangements should not be considered fair to parents. Instead, it should be about determining what is best for the children.


Making Parenting Arrangements


Parenting arrangements are arrangements you make for your children when you divorce. These arrangements must be in the best interests of the children. Parents may need to adjust their parenting plans as their children get older and their needs change.

It is important to consider:

  • The ages of children
  • Who is the best person to care for children day-to-day?
  • Any special requirements, eg., considerations regarding schooling and medical issues, housing, transport, unexpected expenses
  • The cultural needs of children, particularly if they’re Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander
  • The opinions and choices made by the
  • The safety of children

The purpose of a parenting plan is to provide security, boundaries, and structure for a family’s routine.

No matter how good your relationship is, any changes can cause tension, such as the introduction of a new partner. Parents should have a plan that is flexible and can deal with any situation.

After all details have been covered, it’s a good idea to make the parenting plan legally binding through Parenting Consent Orders. This is especially important if there is power imbalance or potential for conflict. As Perth family lawyers, we can help with this process.

Simple Separation works with you and your ex-partner to create a parenting plan that is in your best interests for your children now and into the future.


Different Kinds of Child Custody


Two basic types of child custody must be addressed in any child custody agreement. These are legal custody and physical custody.

These types can be further defined by determining whether they are applicable to either one parent (solely) or both parents. Both types of custody can be combined.

A child custody agreement could, for example, allow one parent to have sole legal custody and another to have joint physical custody.

Contact our friendly team of separation lawyers in Perth for advice and assistance through this difficult time.


Legal Custody

Legal custody is the process by which important decisions are made about a child’s education and upbringing. These decisions can include but are not limited to those concerning the child’s education and healthcare, as well as religious tutelage.


Physical Custody

Physical custody is basically the responsibility for daily caretaking of the child. The primary residence of the child is also determined by physical custody. The co-parents who have physical custody of the child are responsible for providing the child with basic needs such as shelter, food, and clothing.


Sole Custody


One parent has sole custody, meaning that the child is under the care of only one parent. Sole custody can be applied either to legal custody or physical custody. This means that one parent has physical custody and legal custody.

A judge can grant sole legal custody to one parent if the parents cannot agree on details of the child’s education due to conflict. This is done to avoid the family having to return to court for every dispute.


Joint Custody


Joint custody is the exact opposite. This means that the co-parents have either physical custody or legal custody.

Both parents are entitled to participate in important decision-making when joint legal custody has been ordered. However, how co-parents manage this joint responsibility day to day is often determined by the preferences of the family. However, if one parent excludes the other, they could be required to go back to court as they are in violation of their court order.

It is not uncommon for custody arrangements in many states to include joint physical custody. This is due in large part to the consensus that children who spend significant time with their parents will be happier and healthier in the longterm. Joint physical custody does not mean that the child must spend equal time with each parent. It simply means that the child spends substantial time with both parents.


Guidelines for Determining Parenting Arrangements


Parents have basically three choices when it is time to formalise their parenting arrangements.


Parenting Plan

A written agreement between both parties that sets out the parenting arrangements for the future. It is not strictly enforceable if a parent violates it.


Court Order by Consent

An Order that both parents agree the Court should issue The Court can enforce an order against a parent who does not comply with it.


Court Order

After reviewing all the evidence submitted by parents, a judge or register decides what parenting arrangements should be made. It can be enforced by a parent who violates it.

Parents might agree to parenting arrangements that are not right for them. There may be many reasons for this. Sometimes it is because there are too many emotional and financial consequences to continuing the matter. Others believe it’s more important for their children to be free from the conflict and are ready to make compromises and live happily with the result.


What if You Can’t Agree


If parents are unable to agree and need a court to decide the arrangements, the risk is that they will give the decision-making to a judge to decide what is best for their children. They give up control and ask a judge who is not familiar with their families to make the decision about what is best for their children.

Your Perth separation lawyer will give you the best advice possible about how the court will decide your case if it comes before a judge. If you don’t take this advice seriously and fail to reach an agreement, you could end up in court with a decision you, the other parent, are not happy with.

It can take up to two years for your case to be decided by a judge. This is due to the way that the Perth family law courts operate. This can prove to be very expensive, time-consuming, and emotionally draining and should be avoided.


Protect Your Children

As a parent, the best thing to do is protect your children. Although you might not be rewarded for being the bigger person when tensions run high, it is something that your children will appreciate.

Children will eventually look back on the separation of their parents and the effect it had on their lives. You can make it difficult for your children if you involve them in conflict situations or make decisions that cause more conflict between the parents. This could affect their future relationships with you or your ex-partner.

It isn’t always easy or appropriate to co-parent. Contact us at Burra-Robinson Family Lawyers in Perth for advice on a suitable parenting arrangement and effective communication strategies.