Children have a right to know both of their parents and be protected from harm.
Parenting is a responsibility that should be shared, provided this does not put children at risk.
Parents & children benefit when parenting arrangements after separation are resolved outside the court system (Family Dispute Resolution / Mediation).
Best Interests of the Child
A Parenting Plan is a voluntary agreement that covers the day to day responsibilities of each parent, the practical considerations of a child's daily life, as well as how parents will agree & consult on important issues about their children.
A Parenting Plan can be changed at any time with both parents agreement.
CMS mediators/FDRPs can assist parents, through the mediation process to formulate a Parenting Plan that suits the requirements for meeting 'your' children's needs. It should be practical, simple, as concrete as possible and in the best interest of your children.
CMS Family Mediators / FDRPs have the necessary qualifications, skills & experience in assisting parents to reach agreements that are tailored to your specific circumstances. CMS will provide you with a handout of topics to consider including in your parenting plan.
Parenting Plan via FDR / Mediation
1. Except in cases of family violence or child abuse, the Court is required to make a presumption that it is in a child's best interest for both parents to have equal shared parental responsibility.This means that both parents have the responsibility for important decisions about health, schooling, religion and legal decisions (eg getting a passport for a child, changing a childs name). Equal shared parental responsibility does not mean equal time.
2. Where a parenting order gives the parents equal shared parental responsibility, the court must consider an order for the child to have equal time with each parent, or if this is not appropriate (not in a child's best interests or not practicable) the court must consider a child having substantial and significant time with both parents, if this is practical and in a child's best interests. Substantial and significant time does not refer to 'amount of time' but to a child spending time over a mix of special days, nights, holidays and scheduled days.
The Family Law system encourages separating parents to work out arrangements for their children between themselves without having to go to court. Family Dispute Resolution is a process that assists parents in making a Parenting Plan. To be a parenting plan under the Family Law Act 1975 it must be in writing and signed and dated by both parents and it must be agreed free from threat, duress or coercion.
What The Law Says
To feel loved and cared for by both parents.
To be free to have a continuing relationship with both parents.
To be free from parental conflict.
To be safe and protected.
To know that their parents separation was not their fault.
To have time sharing arrangements with both parents that take into acount their developmental ages, stages & needs.