At the time of Divorce or separation children need support, love and contact with both parents. Some certainty about the future is also very important for everyone. Any agreement about arrangements for the time that a child or children spend with their parents or other significant people can be formalised in a Parenting Plan or Consent Orders.

Under current parenting law, it’s presumed that both parents will have equal shared parental responsibility for their child or children. This does not mean ‘equal time’ or ‘shared care’. It means Parents or anyone entrusted with the care of a child or children are required to consult each other and make joint decisions about major issues affecting the child such as education, health, housing, and religion. In some situations equal shared parental responsibility may not be in the child’s best interests, and we can discuss aspects of parental responsibility with you.

At Family Focus Legal we can also advise you on what parenting arrangement might also be best for your child or children upon separation, including where they are to live, with whom they are to live, and how often they see the other parent.

There is no current law which requires children to spend equal time with both parents in all cases. Living arrangements, and the allocation of time between parents and significant others, is subject to the child’s best interests in all cases.


The Family Law Act allows for any person who has an interest in the care, welfare and development of a child to make an application about that child. This means that persons who are not the parents may apply to the Court for Orders, including grandparents.

Parenting Plan

A written parenting plan, worked out between parents, will help clarify the arrangements you need to put in place to care for your children. The Plan can include shared parental responsibility for major long-term decision making and the time children spend with each parent. It will help everyone involved to know what is expected of them and it will be a valuable reference as time passes and circumstances change.

A parenting plan puts the best interests of the child first. It is drawn up in good will with a shared commitment to your children and their future firmly in mind.

A parenting plan is a written agreement between parents covering practical issues of parental responsibility.

Your plan can detail practical decisions about children’s care in such areas as:

  • parenting style
  • living arrangements
  • finances
  • religion

A parenting plan is not legally enforceable; however it can have legal implications.

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