Parenting Arrangements

Our Specialist Family Lawyers will help you to lock in co-parenting arrangements that work.

You know what’s best for your children. We know how to make this a reality after separation. We fight hard to help you secure parenting arrangements that are best for your children and right for your situation.

Every parenting matter is different and there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach when dealing with Relocation Applications. Relocation cases are complex and parties usually only get one chance. As such, you should obtain expert Family Law advice, preferably before you even broach the subject with your ex-partner.

We can assist you to negotiate with your ex-partner both through correspondence and at mediation. If the matter is unable to settle, we can assist you with the appropriate Application and represent you in the Family Court.

Parenting Arrangements After Separation

After separation, parents often need to come to arrangements between about:

  • Who the child or children are to live with,
  • How much time their child or children will spend with each parent and other people such as grandparents,
  • The allocation of parental responsibility (i.e. who is to make major long-term decisions for the child or children),
  • How to make important decisions about a child (eg. choice of school, medical decisions or relocating away from a parent),
  • The involvement of third parties, such as a new partner,
  • How a child or children will communicate with a parent they do not live with, or other people,
  • Arrangements for special days and holidays, and
  • Arrangements for a child or children to travel with one parent.

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The Best Interests of the Child

When considering Parenting Arrangements and making Parenting Orders, the Court must regard the best interests of the child(ren) as the paramount consideration.

How to Determine a Child’s Best Interests

The Court determines what is in a child’s best interest by taking into consideration the factors listed at section 60CC of the Family Law Act and adopts a ‘two tiered’ approach requiring the Court to have regard to both the ‘primary’ and ‘additional’ considerations.

The ‘primary considerations’ are:

  1. The benefit of the child of having a meaningful relationship with both parents, and
  2. The need to protect the child from physical or psychological harm or from being subjected to, or exposed to, abuse, neglect or family violence.

The need to protect the children from family violence, abuse, neglect or harm outweighs the benefit to the children of having a meaningful relationship with both parents.

Some of the Additional Considerations include:

  • The views of the child,
  • The nature of the relationship of the child with each parent and other persons (including grandparents),
  • The likely effect on the child of a change in circumstances including separation from either parent or any other child or relative (including grandparents) with whom they have been living,
  • The practical difficulty and expense of a child spending time and communicating with a parent, and
  • The capacity of each parent to provide for the needs of the child (including emotional and intellectual needs).

The Presumption of Equal Shared Parental Responsibility

Under the Family Law Act, there is a presumption that a child’s parents have equal shared parental responsibility for him/her however this presumption may be rebutted where there has been family violence or abuse of the child, or if the Court determines that it would otherwise not be in the bests interests of the child for his/her parents to share parental responsibility.

‘Parental responsibility’ means all the duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which, by law, parents have in relation to children.

“Equal shared parental responsibility” means that the parents are to be equally responsible for making decisions which affect the long-term care, welfare and development of the child, such as which school he/or she attends, which religion is followed or whether the child undergoes a particular medical procedure.

When You Agree

Sometimes parents are able to reach an agreement about parenting arrangements which should be documented in practical terms. Our experienced Family Lawyers can help you to document the agreement and will discuss with you the best format for your particular agreement.

Informal Parenting Arrangements and Parenting Plans are simply unenforceable unless
Court Orders exist.

Fixed Fee Consent Orders for Parenting

Ensure you can rely on and enforce your Parenting Arrangements should circumstances change in future with our Fixed Fee offer for Parenting Consent Orders.

$3,500 incl. GST

When You Don’t Agree

When you can’t reach agreement with your ex partner about any of these issues, we encourage them to understand and agree with your position by:

  • Writing to them, or their Family Lawyer, providing legal reasoning in support of your proposal
  • Attending a Mediation with you so we can support you to discuss your proposal with the other parent
  • Preparing a document containing the parenting arrangements to bring a clear understanding to your proposal

We will guide you through what types of issues need to be resolved and help you develop a plan that will work as your children grow.

Feel the empowerment
of knowing where you
stand at an early stage.

Fixed Fee Smart Start Appointment

Your Smart Start Family Lawyer will answer all your questions, explain the law and legal processes, provide on-the-spot tailored advice and help you develop a plan for moving forward.

$350 incl. GST 90-Minute Consultation


If parents are unable to reach agreement, the parties must first attempt Mediation (also known as Family Dispute Resolution) before the Court will accept an Application for Court Orders about parenting arrangements.

This requirement has been put in place so that parties make every effort to reach agreement before going to Court and is compulsory except in limited circumstances (including urgency, risk of harm to a child, or presence of family violence).

Going to Court

Parenting arrangements are incredibly time-sensitive. A delay of months, weeks or even days can impact on your outcome.

Where agreement cannot be reached, it may be necessary to go to Court to get a decision made so that life can move forward. You might decide to start Court proceedings or you receive Court documents from your ex. Our Family Lawyers are experienced advocates who work in the Family Court system every day. They will fight for the best outcome for you and your family, while keeping you involve every step of the way.

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My sincere gratitude for getting this arranged with commensurate alacrity, it is thoroughly appreciated!.

Peter M

I recommend Jade Coshaw and Delaney Roberts to anyone I know that requires Family Law representation.

“Following the breakdown of my marriage I was recommended to Delaney Roberts so made an initial appointment. From the outset Jade has acted with the most sound judgment and unfaltering responsibility towards my case and this combined with her extensive knowledge of Family Law meant she was able to fully explain the different options available to me, providing both the pros and cons of each option, in an attempt to bring the matter to conclusion resulting in a solution that provides the best possible outcome for all those involved, most importantly my children.

Jade has kept me constantly informed throughout the proceedings, even contacting me out of her normal working hours on occasion, ensuring I was never in any doubt as to the progress of my matter.

In summary of Jade’s actions, she has been compassionate, understanding, patient and honest with me. She has been my advisor and confidant. Fighting my legal battles for me, shouldering all the stress and shielded me from harm. She has taken my peculiar circumstances and directed them in such a way, that the outcome can only be described as superior. All attributes that will ensure I will recommend Jade Coshaw’s name and the legal firm of Delaney Roberts to anybody I know that find themselves in a similar situation where they require family law representation. I see Jade as a true advocate and carer of those who are in need and believe her kindness will be rewarded.”

Sarah Jackson

From initial consult all the way to completion of my family law matter, Monique made me feel cared for, heard and ensured only the best for my situation.

“When picking someone to entrust with your own personal situation, you want to have someone that is in your corner, and that’s what I found with Monique and Jill. The entire process was made easy, and they handled everything with the utmost professionalism. I truly appreciated their personalised service, care and advice. I highly recommend them and the team at Delaney Roberts. Thank you again Monique and Jill, you have both made a hard and difficult situation less stressful.”

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Linsey Wilson and her team of experts at Delaney Roberts where exceptional in understanding my situation and implementing a strong fair case towards custody with my daughter.

“During the year it took to complete the final orders to be placed, Linsey went above and beyond countless times and acted immediately after our first consultation which resulted in me being able to see my daughter after 3 weeks of her being withheld. I wish that no parent will have to endure what myself & my daughter have had to go through, but with the help & guidance of Linsey this process was made with assurance for an end result. So again a great outcome for myself & my daughter all thanks bro the fantastic work of Linsey & her approachable team at Delany Roberts.”

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Clare was informative, responsive and attentive to my needs and always actioned what she said she would.

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Jade got a great outcome for me and my children. I highly recommend jade and I cant thank her enough.

“Jade Coshaw is very professional. When my situation became worse she fitted me and got a quick court date. She and Jill were prompt with email responses and listen to all my concerns and what outcome I wanted.”

Luke Parkinson

Clare was always concerned about what it would cost me and helped me get the best possible outcome without it costing me a fortune.

“Clare is amazing. After listening to what I wanted to get out of my case, she explained in detail what was realistic and what wasn’t. Hopefully won’t need another lawyer but would definitely use her services again.”

Geraldine Williams

I’m so appreciative of the support, guidance and legal advice Monique Allan has provided for my family law matter.

“Thank you Monique and Jill. Monique has worked with me through some stressful situations and I highly recommend her not only for her knowledge and expertise, but also for her calm and fair approach during a difficult time.”

Xanthe Barratt

Clare McAteer is a highly competent and caring solicitor who always ensures that her clients feel comfortable and informed at all times.

“Highly recommend! If you’re looking for a kind, personable and efficient lawyer, I couldn’t recommend her enough.”

Jessica Radisich

When deciding who is the best person to represent you and put your families best interests first you can’t go past Linsey Wilson at Delaney Roberts Adamstown. From the day we walked in her office we knew we had the most professional lawyer to guide and direct us to a successful outcome.

Kellie Payne

There is no limit to the care they show for their clients and to get an email out of business hours to me just shows that they care, just because the lights are turned off in the office doesn’t mean they stop thinking about you!

“I have been dealing with Delaney Roberts for a few months now and I could not be happier with the way they conduct business and the service they provide.
I have had dealings with Clare McAteer and Linsey Wilson and I must say that they are both amazing women and are fantastic in the jobs they do.
Considering the matter that I have enlisted their services, they have never made feel like I was just another case number. Instead I am a person and I matter. I would have absolutely no hesitation in recommending Delaney Roberts. Keep up the great work.”

Jessica Fenton

Love love love. Linsey has made my family law matter so easy to deal with. Accomplishing time with my son after 2.5years apart. Words can not express my gratitude.

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Clare was extremely informative. Understand my issue and a guided which is proving positive for my unfair AVO scenario linked to Family court matter.

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Linsey was amazing to deal with for our family law matter.

“Very knowledgeable and answered all of our questions upfront with no run around like other lawyers have given us. Our consult was very long compared to what other lawyers offer for the same price. Feeling very at ease about working with her in the future.”

Emma & Jeffery Boslem

Thank you once again to Linsey Wilson and Delaney Roberts Specialist Family Lawyers, we would not hesitate to use you again in the future if the need arises and would highly recommend your services to anyone.

“It is with great respect and gratitude that we write this Google referral for Delaney Roberts, Specialist Family Lawyers at Adamstown, Newcastle, and in particular Linsey Wilson – Senior Associate Solicitor.

Earlier this year we had the need for a family law specialist solicitor for a complicated matter. We had never had any experience in family law matters previously and as we are living in the UK and required an Australian solicitor to represent us locally in Newcastle it was a daunting and overwhelming process to face.

We approached several firms who were not willing to take our case and then we were recommended to Delaney Roberts. All staff we encountered were friendly and responsive and willing to listen to the particulars of our matter. After initially corresponding with Samantha Miller, we were appointed to Linsey Wilson who had the most experience and expertise to represent our specific matter.

From the onset we were very impressed with the seamless manner in which Linsey was able to put us at ease and have full confidence in her abilities and skill as a lawyer. Linsey really made a difference in our case with her personal and caring approach to our matter. At all times we had full trust in Linsey’s commitment to gaining the outcome we were seeking.

Communication between the time zones was not a problem, Linsey tailored appointments at convenient times to us on a variety of forums, including video meetings, emails, and phone calls. Linsey was outstanding in her coordination of communication with two other solicitors who were involved locally in our matter and a UK solicitor. It was so reassuring to be secure in the knowledge that our solicitor had everything at hand – no need for us to chase.

To say we were satisfied with Linsey’s strategic approach to our matter, her organisation, preparation and how Linsey conducted herself in the court proceedings is an understatement. We could not be happier with the successful outcome of our court matter and believe we would not have had the same outcome with another lawyer or firm.

Many who spoke with us during our process voiced that they would not like to be in our lawyers shoes and that it was unlikely that the court would rule in our favour. Perhaps if those who voiced these opinions had the pleasure to have a lawyer such as Linsey Wilson of Delaney Roberts Specialist Family Lawyers represent them they would experience the wonderful feeling we have when everything comes together and ensures that the system really works.”

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I would highly recommend Monique Allan. Monique is very attentive and professional. I felt my feelings were validated and I had her support and reassurance throughout the process of settling a family law matter.

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My only regret is that I didn’t find Linda immediately after separating.

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Clare’s knowledge is unrivalled, her bubbly personality reassured me from the start.

“It’s with a heavy heart I wrote this review because it means my journey with Clare and Bianca is over. I met the girls during a very difficult time in my life and they were the light helping me navigate through. Bianca was always available to answer any question no matter how random or silly it was. This dynamic duo are the people you want in your corner, they go above and beyond and surpassed my wildest expectations. I hope I never have to use their service again but if I do they’ll be the first people I call on. I love you girls so much, you’re become part of my tribe and you laugh at my jokes what more could someone ask for.”

Chantelle Palmer

Delaney Roberts went above and beyond. Jade is highly efficient and worked to get results as quickly as possible while leaving no stone unturned.

“Navigating family law can feel overwhelming, emotional and confusing
however having a lawyer you can trust that shows compassion, extensive knowledge and clear judgement goes a long way to make the process as stress free as possible and Jade and Jill from Delaney Roberts went above and beyond. Jade is highly efficient and worked to get results as quickly as possible while leaving no stone unturned and both Jade and Jill were always available to answer any questions along the way & keep me in the loop. I hope to never find myself in this situation again but if I did, I would want Jade on my side again. Huge thank you again for all your hard work & giving me the best possible outcome!”

Alondra Larenas

Clare was caring, very professional and provided a complete picture of my alternatives highlighting the advantages and disadvantages.

“I had a wonderful experience receiving advice from Clare at Delaney Roberts. I strongly recommend giving them a call if you need a Family Lawyer.”

Jenni-lee Ekert

Clare gave me her honest and best advice at each turn and we managed to get an excellent outcome.

“My dealings were for a family settlement, Clare helped me every step of the way. Family breakdowns are hard and Clare was extremely understanding throughout the whole process, I felt very comfortable dealing with her and I can’t recommend her enough. Amazing.”

Patrick Foot

Monique, Jade and Jill have made a very stressful time in my life easier.

“I have been kept up to date at every step. They have made sure I was fully aware of the next steps in my family law matter. I can’t thank them enough. Highly recommend”

We have more Accredited Specialists in Family Law than 99% of all law firms in NSW.


Can the Family Court make Orders in relation to property and children on an urgent basis?

Yes, the Court can make interim Orders in relation to property and children’s matters at any time. An interim Order is an Order made before the final determination of an Initiating Application.

For example, a party may apply to the Court for an interim Order to decide where a child lives until such time as a final hearing. Other examples include applying to the Court for urgent Spousal Maintenance or injunctions to prevent a party from disposing of assets.

How are Parenting Arrangements Worked Out After Separation?

Parenting Arrangements may develop naturally and easily from the time of separation, or with the assistance of Family Lawyers, a Mediator or by an Application to the Court for Parenting Orders.

How Does a Court Ascertain a Child’s Best Interests?

Each party may provide evidence in the form of an Affidavit in relation to the best interests of the child. In order to get a complete picture of the child’s best interests, if there is a high degree of conflict and/or allegations of risk, an Independent Children’s Lawyer may be appointed by the Court. Their role is to represent the best interests of the child(ren).

The Court may also make Orders for the preparation of an Expert Report to assist the Judge in determining what Orders are in the best interests of the child(ren).

Equal Time vs Substantial and Significant Time

If the Court considers that an Order for equal shared parental responsibility is in the best interests of the child(ren), it must consider whether or not it is in the child(ren)’s best interests to spend equal time or significant and substantial time with each parent. If the Court makes Orders for one parent to have sole parental responsibility then there is no such requirement.

Whilst “equal time” is self-explanatory, “significant and substantial” time is defined as days which fall on weekdays, weekends, holidays and days which are of special significance to the parent and child. The intention is to allow the parent to be involved in the child’s daily routine and vice versa.

The Court must be satisfied that it is both reasonably practicable and, in the children’s best interests to spend either equal, or significant and substantial time.

When considering whether the proposed time arrangement is “reasonably practicable” the Court is concerned with the reality of the situation for the parents and the children and requires a practical consideration of whether the proposed Parenting Order is feasible. Such consideration takes into account the distance between the parents’ households, their ability to facilitate such an arrangement and how well the parents are able to communicate with one another.

Is a Parenting Agreement Legally Binding?

In Australia there are three main ways to have a Parenting Agreement:

Orders made by the Court.

  • These are legally binding and enforceable.
  • Orders can be made by agreement which are Consent Orders and there is no Court appearance required, or can be made by a Court because Court proceedings had occurred.

A Parenting Plan.

  • A written, signed and dated agreement that is not legally enforceable but is considered by the Court if Court proceedings occur.
  • A Parenting Plan can be easily updated and amended as children get older.

An informal agreement.

  • In writing or verbally agreed between parents.
  • While this offers flexibility this is not legally binding.

The type of Parenting Agreement you need, depends on your individual family and the co-parenting relationship.

What Should be Included in a Parenting Agreement?

A Parenting Agreement should cover all important matters in relation to your children.

It should include:

  • How decisions are to be made,
  • The time that children spend with parents and how this will occur,
  • Arrangements for special occasions,
  • Arrangements for school holidays,
  • Methods of communication.

When negotiating your Parenting Agreement remember to consider the longevity of the agreement, including what is important to you in how you raise your children.

What Happens When my Ex Doesn’t Follow the Parenting Plan?

A Parenting Plan is not a legally enforceable agreement. This means that if a parent does not follow a Parenting Plan you cannot ask the Court or the police to enforce it. However, it is likely to be taken into consideration by the Court in working out what you each considered to be workable and appropriate Parenting Arrangements.

In non-urgent matters you should try and speak with your former partner and participating in Mediation may help you reach a new Agreement.

If your former partner continues not to follow the Parenting Plan, you may want to consider engaging a Solicitor to formalise your agreement as Consent Orders which are legally binding and enforceable.

A Solicitor can give you tailored advice about the options available.

What if I have children under 18 years of age?

Until the Court makes an Order both parents can make decisions in relation to a child, even if the child is not living with them.

The Court can make an Order deciding if both parents have equal parental responsibility or if one parent will have sole parental responsibility. There is a presumption that equal parental responsibility will apply unless the presumption can be rebutted by factors such as a family violence.

The Court can also divide responsibilities. For example, one parent may have parental responsibility in relation to a child’s schooling and the other parent may have parental responsibility in relation to a child’s medical concerns. Parental responsibility relates to major long term issues but not issues such as haircuts, packing lunches, appropriate discipline measures or other day to day activities.

Where parties can agree to the living arrangement of a child they can enter into a Parenting Plan or file Consent Orders with the Court.

If a child under the age of 18 is predominantly living with you, you should make contact with the Child Support Agency.

If you are applying for a Divorce, a brief summary of the arrangements in relation to children need to be set out in the Divorce Application. You may also be required to appear in front of the Family Court Registrar to provide evidence that the proper arrangements have been made for children under the age of 18. Examples of proper arrangements are informing the Registrar of the child’s living arrangements, schooling and child support payments.