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Breaking up is hard to do, children make it even harder

Written By: Amy McCormick and Ben Jefferson

Formal shared-parenting agreement will help ensure the kids are alright

Separating is never easy. Breaking up when children are involved is especially challenging. A separation can be sudden and shocking, and the aftermath is a deeply uncertain and disruptive time for both young children and teenagers. As you come to terms with your new reality, it is important you and your ex-partner make appropriate arrangements for your children with their needs as the central focus.

There is no hard and fast rule about what these arrangements should look like and arriving at the right arrangement for your family will depend on your specific circumstances.

It is often best if parents can arrive at their own arrangements as you are likely to know what would suit you (and, most importantly, your children) best. Doing so is encouraged by the court.

A better understanding of your rights and responsibilities at the outset can help parents reach their own arrangements and help to minimise conflict. This understanding can provide you with a framework for working through issues with your ex to ensure a child’s needs are met initially – and as they get older.

Common issues parents face when deciding what is best for their children include:

  • Difficulty agreeing on the time children spend with each parent
  • Parents having different views about the important matters affecting a child, such as education or medical issues

If you find yourself having difficulty agreeing on a care arrangement with your ex-partner, or want to better understand your rights and obligations as a parent after separation, an initial consultation with a specialist family lawyer will help guide you.

Once you and your ex have reached an agreement you are happy with, it may be useful to consider receiving advice about turning that agreement into a formal parenting agreement or parenting order.

A formal shared parenting agreement ensures that everyone has some certainty about the arrangements and can help to avoid future conflict.

Haigh Lyon’s dedicated specialist family law team can provide advice on ensuring the best possible outcome for you and your children during a separation.

Contact Amanda Donovan on , Amy McCormick on and Ben Jefferson on or call 09 306 0600.