Family Law Parenting Plan and Legal Advice for Parents
The family law in these types of matters is based on the best interests of the children, particularly their right to a meaningful relationship with each parent as long as it does not put them at risk of harm.
What does in the best interests of the children mean?
Under the Family Law Act, ‘the best interests of the children’ is their right to:
- A meaningful relationship with both parents;
- Protection from harm;
- Adequate and proper parenting that helps them to achieve their full potential; and
- Having parents fulfil their duties and meet their responsibilities for the care, welfare and development of the children.
Making decisions that are in the best interests of your children can be extremely difficult, when you are separating. It is not easy to calmly discuss arrangements for your children when you are possibly experiencing feelings of intense sadness, guilt or betrayal, and are coming to terms with the breakdown of your marriage or de facto relationship. It is not easy to consider and carefully balance the needs of the other party with your need to get onto your feet and find financial security and certainty. Decisions about who the children live with and the amount of time children spend with each parent can seem too difficult to discuss with so many other things going on.
We have considerable experience helping parents to come to terms with the changes going on in their life and are here to discuss and guide important parenting issues like:
- Where the children’s primary residence will be – with which parent the children will primarily live;
- shared care or equal care arrangements that facilitate a meaningful relationship with both parents and their extended family and friends, free from harm;
- arrangements that change as the children grow;
- the location and timing of drop-off’s and pick-up’s;
- where the children will spend special occasions like their birthday, your birthday, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, Christmas and Easter and any other occasion that is special to your family;
- preferred schooling and payment of associated fees;
- religious observance;
- health care providers and decisions;
- domestic and international travel arrangements; and
- much more.
The Family Law Act places great emphasis on making sure that children continue to have a strong and meaningful relationship with each of their parents. Amendments made to that Act in recent years have caused a shift in the approach that Judges take where parents can’t agree between themselves.
Early advice which allows you to make informed decisions about the proposals you make for the care of your children may make the difference between experiencing years in court fighting as opposed to creating a healthy and positive environment in which your children can thrive in the care of both parents. It will also provide you with the tools you need to protect your children if there is a risk of harm from which the children need protection.
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