Frequently Asked Questions About Parenting Arrangements
Do we have to do week-about?
There is no requirement to do any particular parenting arrangement or care routine. It is important to consider what is in your children’s best interests, and what will work well for them. That might be week-about care, it could be that the children live mainly with one parent and spend regular time with the other parent, or it could be something more fluid and flexible.
At what age can our children decide?
There is no age at which the responsibility to make decisions about the living or visiting arangements for children moves to them. The legal framework is that those decisions are to be made by parents and not by children (or young people). However, the views and wishes of children are to be taken into account as part of the combination of factors about what is in their best interests, with the maturity of the children relevant to help the Court determine the weight to be given to those wishes.
Can our children come to mediation or Court to explain what they want?
The answer to that question is no. The Court does not allow children to attend, sign statements or directly be involved in the Court process. If a child has wishes that are relevant to the case, then the Court get that information through a child consultant or child expert who is appropriately qualified to have those discussions. Similarly, children don’t attend mediation. However, there is a specialised form of mediation called Child Inclusive Mediation which includes a Child Consultant meeting the children and then providing feedback to the parents not just about what the children said but also information about children, their emotional needs and common developmental stages.
If I have a Domestic Violence Order does that mean I can't see the children?
This is an area that needs specific advice, as some domestic violence orders are prepared in such a way to still allow for contact arrangements with children to happen easily, and others can prevent that from happening. It is very important to carefully review your DVO and your parenting arrangements to ensure they can work together.
Taking the first step can be challenging, particularly if you are not sure if you even need legal advice or assistance. We’re happy to help you get clear about those things.
We offer a free 30-minute phone consultation, during which we ask key questions, share information and recommend a strategy as you move forward.