Parenting Arrangements After Family Court: What You Need To Know

Divorcing when you have children may not always be easy. This is because you must take good care of them and provide all the necessary needs just like before. Therefore, you must develop a robust co-parenting relationship with your ex-spouse. This minimizes your children’s stress and provides them with comfort and security. It also reduces parenthood stress as you have another person to rely on.

However, to achieve a positive co-parenting relationship, you need to make workable parenting arrangements that are legally binding. This article details everything you need about parenting arrangements after family court. Read on for details:

Importance of parenting agreements

Most divorcing partners often never want to have any future association after signing the papers. In the same way, when couples go through family court proceedings, it could negatively impact their children. Moreover, with children in the equation, both of you are responsible for raising them. Hence, consulting Perth divorce lawyers will help you formulate your parenting agreement.

Essentially, it indicates how you’ll spend time with and make key decisions for your children. Aside from that, it forms the basis for a post-divorce relationship between the parting parents and their kids. This way, there’ll be no future disagreements between the two of you in regards to raising the kids. Also, it eliminates confusion on the part of your children regarding how they’re supposed to connect with you.

Therefore, before proceeding to any family court, sit down with your partner and write the parenting agreement. This may be used later in courts in case any one of you fails to live up to this agreement.

Legal requirements to bind the agreement

For some states, it’s not mandatory for divorcing couples to draft a parenting agreement for them to be granted a divorce. However, to eliminate any future problems, it’s worthwhile to have one. And to make it legally binding, it must be in writing, not verbal. Also, both parents must append their signatures to confirm their participation in writing the agreement. Then, consider having it included in a parenting order. If the Family Court of Australia ascertains that the agreement is in the children's best interest, they’ll proceed to seal it, making it a legally binding document.

Here are some items you must add for your parental agreement to be binding:

- Child custody
- Medical care
- Education needs
- Religious education
- Child support and financial matters
- Visit from grandparents and other relatives

Parenting agreements are legally binding in most jurisdictions

After creating your parenting agreement, you need to submit it to a judge for approval. The judge may ask some basic questions to ascertain if you’re familiar with and understand what’s contained in the file. Additionally, they’ll confirm if the agreement benefits your children and if you both signed it willingly.
In most jurisdictions, this becomes legal binding indicating your rights and commitments. You’re required to adhere to the agreement or face legal consequences.

General provisions in a parenting arrangement

The transition period can be emotionally challenging for those involved, especially the children. Therefore, the parenting agreement must create provisions to maintain the parents’ rights and values. Some of these may include:

Creating a parenting plan

A parenting plan is a dated and legal agreement on how you’ll raise your children after the divorce. Such a plan minimizes possible disagreements, streamlines financial matters, allows you to participate in decision-making, and addresses any safety concerns. Hence, it’s best to hire a family court lawyer for your guidance and to ensure you draft a parenting plan that effectively manages both your concerns and that of your child.
You can include items such as:
- What to do on special occasions like holidays and birthdays
- How you can alter the plan or handle arising issues
- Where your children will live
- How you’ll be contacting each other

Specifying a custody arrangement

A parenting arrangement after a family court can never be complete without a custody agreement. Usually, with a divorce or any family court proceeding, you may find it hard to determine where your children will live, with whom, and how much time each of you will spend with them. With that said, you need to craft out a workable plan regarding custody.

Basically, there are two main types of custody: legal custody and physical custody. Having legal custody means that you must make decisions about your children’s crucial life matters, such as:
- The school they’ll attend
- The religion to follow
- When they should visit a doctor
- Whether they require a tutor for psychological counseling
- Whether they should participate in extracurricular activities

You can have sole legal custody, making all the decisions without involving your co-parent. Alternatively, you can have joint legal custody where both share the authority to make the most crucial decisions.

On the other hand, with physical custody, you have the right to live with your children. You can have sole or joint physical custody. In the former, you live with the children full time. But the latter allows you and your ex-partner to spend considerable time with your children.

Sometimes, making such decisions may be nerve-racking. To make this process hassle-free, consider involving professionals with much-needed family law expertise. With proper guidance, you’ll be able to set up custody arrangements that are in your children’s best interest.

Outlining a visitation schedule

Before your separation, you may have had a tradition on how to spend your holidays with your children. For example, on particular holidays, your children may visit your parents, and on others, your ex-partner’s parents.

Now that you’re no longer together, you need to set up a visitation schedule, ensuring that you draft it in a fashion that promotes a strong and bold relationship between you and your children. This means that each parent should spend quality time with their children frequently.

Consider hiring a lawyer to help you draft a parenting agreement

Divorce comes with heightened emotions. At some point, you might make rushed decisions due to the pain you still have, but they may be irrational. Hiring a reputable lawyer ensures every part of the agreement is sensible for you and your children. Aside from that, lawyers help you to:
- Acquire a fair and equitable plan when divorcing
- Support the best interests of your children during custody cases
- Draft a parenting agreement based on your family’s needs
- Make communications seamless with your ex-partner
- Ensure documents are being filed appropriately


It’s always the desire of any parent to be united with their families forever. However, due to unavoidable circumstances, you may decide to separate through a friendly, litigated, collaborative, or any other type of divorce. Since you’re not living together anymore, you need to make parenting arrangements and support each other in raising your kids. You can draft your agreement with the above information to avoid future conflicts. For any doubts or challenges encountered in the process, consider hiring reputable divorce lawyers.

About the Author

Annalie is a family law expert. She has more than 17 years' experience in the field as an attorney in South Africa and Australia. Her practice ranges from representing clients with simple property matters to representing clients with high net worth matters, including complex business and company structures. Annalie's areas of expertise include complex property settlements, children's issues, and high-conflict divorce.

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Posted - 07/05/2022