What a start to the year we have had! After a delayed return to school for children in Queensland, we are sure parents are very happy to be getting back into the morning routine of packing lunches and doing school drop-offs. However, if you have recently separated from your spouse, taking your children to school may look different to how it has looked in the past.
In the event that parents divorce, having a clear understanding of how custody of their child is to be handled is critical. There are many things to take into account including schooling, healthcare, religious considerations and more. Above all, any parenting arrangement must consider what is in the best interests of the child and how those interests can be met in the most practical way possible.
Developing a parenting plan
A parenting plan is an agreement between separated or divorced parents, whether oral or written, that sets out how matters related to the upbringing of their child is to be handled. It is an important element in ensuring that your child is brought up in a stable environment.
Parenting plans are not legally binding and can be developed between the parents themselves or with the assistance of a family lawyer. While parenting plans aren’t legal documents, courts will take them into consideration if any parental dispute arises.
Parenting plans are distinguished from court mandated parenting orders which are legally enforceable. If no agreement can be reached privately, either parent can appeal to the court to settle the matter in the best interests of the child. However, the court will generally require evidence that the parents have attempted to resolve their differences through out of court dispute resolution.
The child’s schooling and other commitments
Parental arrangements should take a number of factors into consideration, notably ensuring your child can maintain their schooling and any other commitments they may have. Think about the practicalities of changeover times. It is common for changeovers to occur at schools or childcare. However, in a time when large sections of society can go into lockdown on fairly short notice, including schools, it may be necessary to change over at the other parent’s house or another neutral location.
Also, think about other activities your child may be involved in such as sport, music lessons and the like. How can they fit into your arrangements and which parent is best equipped to make sure they’re made possible?
Child safety concerns
In cases involving domestic violence, a parent can directly appeal to the court for a parental order without the need to undergo dispute resolution first. Courts assume that children will benefit from having a meaningful relationship with both parents unless it can be shown that they face a risk of physical or psychological abuse. Having a strictly enforceable parenting order in place can provide some assurance that your child’s safety will be maintained.
Contact us today for guidance on developing parental arrangements. Book a free 15-min discovery call.