Family Law Parenting Arrangements & Mediation
Until children reach the age of 18 both parents have full responsibility for their children, unless a Court orders otherwise. This responsibility does not change due to a marriage or de facto relationship breakdown.
If parents decide to part ways it is best to reach agreement about the arrangements for children without the need to resort to lengthy and costly litigation. We can provide you with the details of an experienced family law mediator to assist you resolve your family law dispute.
Click on your State to find a Family Law Network Australia VIP family law mediator near you.
Before commencing court proceedings most people will need to have participated in mediation and obtained a certificate from a Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner (FDRP) to confirm that a genuine effort has been made to resolve the matter.
If you cannot reach agreement by mediation and negotiation on the arrangements for your children, you can apply to the Family Court or the Federal Magistrates Court for orders to determine parenting duties. These orders are called Parenting Orders. These may include orders concerning:-
- parental responsibility and decision making;
- whom the child will live; and/or
- whom the child spends time with and communicates with.
A parent, or anyone else concerned with the well-being of the child or children may apply to the Family Court or the Federal Magistrates Court for a parenting order. For instance, this applies to grandparents or step parents.
If you can reach agreement by mediation and negotiation it will cost you less, in time, money and emotional distress, and the transition will be easier for your children.
There are different ways of formalising these agreements, although it is not compulsory to do so. One way, is to file parenting orders by consent in the Family Court or the Federal Magistrates Court. Alternatively, you can enter into a written Parenting Plan which records the agreed parenting arrangement. Your family law lawyer can discuss the most suitable arrangement after considering your circumstances.
The issues involved in the care, welfare and development of your children can be complex, and any decisions you make now can have significant implications for the future. You should speak with your family law lawyer to ensure that any agreement reached will be binding, even if your former partner changes their mind in the future.
The relevant parenting family law legislation can be found on the family law resources page.