It’s important to enter into discussions with your former spouse about arrangements for children following separation, even if it’s painful to do so.  

There are many matters regarding children that need to be considered, including living arrangements, any concerns around custody and contact hours for each parent, and payment of child support. To manage these issues, it might be beneficial to both sides to have a family lawyer assist you through the process.

In many cases, these types of arrangements are put into a more formal context using two particular documents:

  • Parenting Plan – explains how the children will be cared for; and
  • Child Support Agreement – discusses costs and particulars regarding meeting these obligations.

Alternatively, parenting arrangements can be incorporated into Consent Orders to be filed in the Family Court.

While these documents are typically enforceable by each parent, they can be modified and adjusted if the parents agree to do so. While it is not a requirement under the law to have a family lawyer formalise a Parenting Plan, it is no doubt in the best interest of the child to have something in writing; it will help provide certainty and, as a natural consequence, stability.

Pursuant to the law in Australia, each parent shares the same entitlements and duties in terms of responsibility for their children and children are seen as having a right at law to know and be cared for by both parents.

Generally, you are not required by law to register your Parenting Plan. If, however, you have made an application for Court Orders, a copy of the proposed plan should be incorporated into proposed Consent Orders to be filed in the proceedings.

Paying child support

Under Australian law, there is a prescribed formula that is applied to work out the appropriate amount that is payable by way of Child Support.

Sometimes, however, the prescribed amount is not applicable, for example with respect to a special needs child, or a child who attends Private School. This is regarded as a Variation to the assessed Child Support amount.

For those parents who do not wish to pay child support pursuant to the assessed amount, for whatever reason, a Binding Child Support Agreement may be entered into.

If you’re proposing to enter into such an agreement, independent legal advice should first be obtained from a family lawyer.

Registration of Child Support Agreements occurs through the Family Court. This Agreement is either lodged by itself, or in conjunction with the Separation Agreement. If you wish to change the contents of the Agreement, you can do so by registering these changes with the Court.

How to manage disagreement amongst parents

It is not uncommon that parents will disagree about how their children are to be cared for following separation. If this happens, the Family Dispute Resolution Service can assist with mediating the matter. The Court may provide another option for resolving the dispute if mediation is inappropriate in the circumstances.

If the parents cannot reach an agreement after the mediation process, then the matter may end up in Court. This is a very expensive and stressful exercise. 

Conclusion

For legal assistance in settling family law disputes, it is important that you seek the advice of a family lawyer. When it comes to children and their best interests following a separation, these matters should always be settled outside of court wherever possible. 

Please note that LegalVision is a commercial law firm and cannot assist with these matters.

COVID-19 Business Survey
LegalVision is conducting a survey on the impact of COVID-19 for businesses across Australia. The survey takes 2 minutes to complete and all responses are anonymous. We would appreciate your input. Take the survey now.

About LegalVision: LegalVision is a tech-driven, full-service commercial law firm that uses technology to deliver a faster, better quality and more cost-effective client experience.

The majority of our clients are LVConnect members. By becoming a member, you can stay ahead of legal issues while staying on top of costs. For just $199 per month, membership unlocks unlimited lawyer consultations, faster turnaround times, free legal templates and members-only discounts.

Learn more about LVConnect

Emma Jervis
Our Awards
  • 2019 Top 25 Startups - LinkedIn 2019 Top 25 Startups - LinkedIn
  • 2019 NewLaw Firm of the Year - Australian Law Awards 2019 NewLaw Firm of the Year - Australian Law Awards
  • 2020 Fastest Growing Law Firm - Financial Times APAC 500 2020 Fastest Growing Law Firm - Financial Times APAC 500
  • 2020 AFR Fast 100 List - Australian Financial Review 2020 AFR Fast 100 List - Australian Financial Review
  • 2020 Law Firm of the Year Finalist - Australasian Law Awards 2020 Law Firm of the Year Finalist - Australasian Law Awards
  • Most Innovative Law Firm - 2019 Australasian Lawyer 2019 Most Innovative Firm - Australasian Lawyer
Privacy Policy Snapshot

We collect and store information about you. Let us explain why we do this.

What information do you collect?

We collect a range of data about you, including your contact details, legal issues and data on how you use our website.

How do you collect information?

We collect information over the phone, by email and through our website.

What do you do with this information?

We store and use your information to deliver you better legal services. This mostly involves communicating with you, marketing to you and occasionally sharing your information with our partners.

How do I contact you?

You can always see what data you’ve stored with us.

Questions, comments or complaints? Reach out on 1300 544 755 or email us at info@legalvision.com.au

View Privacy Policy