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Children/Custody Disputes

After a separation, parents often worry “what will happen with the children?”. This a genuine concern for most parents going through a separation.  There are several ways that parenting arrangements can be finalised including options to resolve the dispute outside of the Court system.

There are two general written types of agreements that can be prepared to formalise a parenting arrangement:

  1. Parenting Plans; and
  2. Court Orders

A Parenting Plan is a written agreement between two parents which sets out arrangements for the ongoing care arrangements for the children.  This agreement is not legally binding. It can be changed at any time, as long as both parties agree.

A Court Order can be made by a Judge after a trial,  or can be made with the consent of both parties (this is called a ‘Consent Order’). A Court Order is a legally binding document which sets out the ongoing arrangements for children.  Court Orders can only be changed by agreement, or by a further Order of the Court.   Once a Final Court Order has been made, the arrangements cannot be changed without the consent of the other party unless the Court considers that there has been a significant and substantial change in circumstances, or if it is otherwise in the best interests of the child for the Orders to be varied.

It is generally considered to be in the best interests of the children to avoid litigation where possible.   Due to the binding nature of Court Orders, it is very important that these are drafted properly by a competent solicitor.  Poorly drafted Orders can cause many ongoing problems.

At Soden Legal we are experts in parenting matters. We have a wealth of knowledge surrounding how to make appropriate arrangements for your children and we are particularly focused on keeping up to date with social science research in relation to what types of arrangements are most appropriate for different age groups.

For specialised assistance in relation to your parenting arrangements contact us today for an initial appointment.