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Co-Parenting - an image of a father and toddler sleeping

Co- Parenting: A Journey of Positivity, Teamwork and Legal Guidance

Co-Parenting can be a daunting journey, fraught with challenges and emotions, but it can also be a chance to establish a nurturing family structure. Georgia Spencer, Law Graduate at Orbell Family Lawyers (located in Erina), offers a contemporary perspective on co-parenting in today’s world.

Going through a separation is never easy, and co-parenting can add an extra layer of complexity. But it is possible to navigate co-parenting with positivity, teamwork and legal guidance. In this article, we discuss the challenges and benefits of co-parenting, highlight the legal aspects of co-parenting and answer some frequently asked questions.

Benefits of Co-Parenting

Co-parenting involves working collaboratively with your former partner to raise your children. While it can be challenging and overwhelming, co-parenting has many benefits such as allowing your children to maintain a close relationship with both parents, providing stability and routine, and creating a supportive family dynamic. By putting your personal feelings aside and focusing on your children’s needs, you can create a positive, new chapter in your family’s lives.

Challenges of Co-Parenting

It would be remiss to overlook the fact that co-parenting presents its own set of challenges. When emotions are high, maintaining effective communication can be difficult. But it’s essential to find a communication method that works for both parents.

Decision-making can also be challenging, particularly when you and your former partner have conflicting opinions. This can make listening to each other and being open to compromise crucial in moving forward.

If you are struggling with co-parenting, it is important to seek professional support from an experienced family lawyer.

There are many other services and resources designed to help separating families, such as:

  • Counselling services and information
  • Printable brochures about family law services
  • Financial advice; and
  • Information in other languages

Visit www.familyrelationships.gov.au for more resources.

How the Law interacts with Co-Parenting

Parental Responsibility

Parenteral responsibility refers to decision-making and not time spent with the children. Generally, there is a presumption that parents should make joint decisions about school, health, education, religion etc however in some cases this can be rebutted such as where there are risks to the children or where there has been family violence.

Who children live and spend time with

Parents can work together to create an agreement that covers parenting issues, including living arrangements, decision-making and time spent with each parent. We at Orbell Family Lawyers help separating families negotiate and formalise parenting arrangements to enable you to move forward and can assist with preparing a Parenting Plan or Consent Order.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do both parents have to make joint decisions and agree on everything?

No, however, it is important both parents try to work together to make decisions that are in the ‘best interests of their children’. If parents are unable to compromise or agree, they may benefit from attending mediation or seeking legal advice to resolve any issue.

What are the steps involved if both parents cannot agree on a parenting arrangement?

Consult an experienced family lawyer who can help you explore your options and develop a plan that will work for you and your children.

Attend mediation. Orbell Family Lawyers specialise in family law and have an Accredited Specialist in Family law and Accredited Mediator with 15+ years of experience on their team.

If all other avenues have been exhausted, it may be necessary to apply to Court.

Can co-parents change their parenting agreement?

Yes, co-parents can change their agreement if both parties agree or by going to mediation or Court. Any changes to the agreement should be made in writing, preferably done with the assistance of a qualified family lawyer.

What if there is a history of domestic violence?

While co-parenting is promoted, children’s wellbeing is paramount. If children are at risk, the Court will take appropriate action to safeguard them. You should seek advice from an experienced family lawyer and contact the police if you and or your children are in danger.

Navigating the family law system in Australia can be made easier by understanding the legal responsibilities and rights of co-parents. While co-parenting can be challenging, it can also be a fulfilling experience as it allows parents to establish a nurturing family environment. By prioritising effective communication, mutual respect and a child-centric approach, co-parents can successfully navigate the complexities of shared parenting and create a happy and healthy future for their children.

Speak to qualified family lawyer

We at Orbell Family Lawyers specialise in family law. We help separating families make arrangements for their children without going to Court, ensuring they have certainty and can move on with their lives.

Mention this article when you call to receive a free 15-minute discovery call with one of our experienced family law solicitors.

Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.

The information contained in this article is provided for information purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice on any matter.

This article was originally published in On the Coast Families Magazine – April/May Edition pages 18-19

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