Your Rights On Separation
The Family Law Act provides that both parents have equal shared parental responsibility for the care and welfare of their children.
There is no automatic rule that children should live with either their mother or their father after separation.
If the parents cannot agree as to where the children are to live, then the Family Court has the power to make what are called “Parenting Orders”.
Parenting Orders can be agreed upon by a child’s parents, or can be orders made by the Court. Parenting Orders can deal with:-
- The person or persons with whom a child is to live
- The time a child is to spend with other people
- The allocation of parental responsibility for the child
- How parents will consult with each other about decisions to be made in relation to their children
- The communication a child is to have with another person, for example by telephone, email, video link up, or other electronic means
- How disputes in relation to interpretation of a Parenting Order can be resolved
- Any other issues relevant to the welfare of the children including for example medical treatment, choice of school, religious upbringing etc
You and your partner do not have to have parenting orders made when you separate – you can agree about all matters concerning the children’s welfare and upbringing – you do not need a Court Order. You can choose to enter into a Parenting Plan which can be adapted in line with your children’s changing needs.
In situations where there is a conflict and disagreement between yourself and your partner, then you have the right to ask the Family Court to make parenting orders or your partner and yourself can agree upon various Parenting Orders.