When a marriage or relationship ends and children are involved, the process of agreeing to a parenting arrangement that meets the needs of the children, can be an emotional and difficult time.
We at Bruce Legal on the Gold Coast have a team of family lawyers who are compassionate and skilled, and we always put the children’s best interests at the forefront of what we do.
Regardless of how the relationship ended, or even if there was no relationship in the first place, both parents have certain duties and responsibilities that must continue to be meet to ensure the well-being of the children. We can assist you to work on a practical parenting arrangement that is suitable for all parties.
Children have the right to have a meaningful relationship with each parent providing they are safe. Court is the last resort if an agreement for a suitable parenting arrangement cannot be reached. If parents cannot agree upon a suitable parenting arrangement both parties will be required to attend family dispute resolution. In these proceedings, parents work towards a joint decision on child custody in the presence of an unbiased third party, before the matter is taken to court.
Family dispute resolution is essentially mediation. It is the opportunity for the parents, with the assistance of a Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner, to reach agreement as to the parenting arrangements for their children. Family Dispute Resolution is a compulsory step prior to bringing an application to the court for a parenting order. With the help of our family lawyers at Bruce Legal, the process can be managed and parents focused on the outcome. Our aim is to save families the time, money and heartache of going to court.
Once a suitable solution has been reached, we can formalise the parenting agreement by way of a Parenting Plan or a Consent Order, filed in Family Court.
In some cases, a relationship can end amicably and an informal parenting arrangement may be reached. In some cases, parents may formalise a parenting agreement by way of a Parenting Plan which is an agreement in writing and signed by both parents. A Parenting Plan is not binding, but if either parent brings an application to the court, the court must consider the terms of the parenting plan. However, the court is not obliged to follow the terms of the Parenting Plan.
In other cases, parents may formalise a parenting agreement by way of a consent order that is filed in the Court and binding on both parties.
When reaching a parenting agreement, it is important to be mindful of how the agreement will affect you and your children. Our family lawyers at Bruce Legal will consult with you about your rights and responsibilities. Children have needs that have to be met, and even in a shared parenting arrangement you or the other party may be required to pay child support.