You have the power to make life changing decisions to impact your child and future generations, in a positive way.

What does the law say about care arrangements (child custody) for children after separation?

The law says that care arrangements for your child should be in their best interests. There are two primary considerations informing this – (1) the benefit to your child in having a relationship with you and your partner (as his or her parents) and (2) the need to protect your child from harm.

Why is the law relevant?

The law becomes particularly relevant if you and your partner are unable to agree on your child’s care arrangements and you need a Judge to decide for you.

The principles informing appropriate care arrangements for children after separation are founded in child psychology – developmental and attachment theories, and more.

Making your parenting agreement official

You don’t have to make your parenting agreement official.

If you do want to, there are two legally recognised ways you can do it.

Parenting Plan

A legally recognised but non-binding parenting agreement, dealing with at least one topic to do with your child.

Parenting Consent Order

A legally binding and enforceable agreement that effectively cements your parenting agreement now until your child turns 18 years.

Why make your parenting agreement official?

Peace of

A mutual, shared understanding with your partner of what’s agreed and expected.

Clarity and

Confidence in your ability to plan ahead and set a routine for your child.


A mutual, shared understanding with your partner of what’s agreed and expected.

There can be reasons why making your parenting agreement official might not be in you or your child’s best interests right now. These reasons might be because of instability with care, contact, or living arrangements, the children’s ages, family violence, safety issues (mental health, substance abuse, family violence). Getting advice on whether to make your agreement official and advice on what to include in the paperwork is always a good idea.

What are the major differences?

Parenting Plan

Parenting Consent Order

Want to make your parenting agreement official?

Parenting Consent Order

Get in touch with the Separate Together team to begin having a Parenting Consent Order drawn up.

Ways to agree

If you and your partner don’t yet have an agreement, there are plenty of ways you can go about to reach a parenting separation agreement that do not involve Court.

Talk it out

This is sometimes referred to as ‘kitchen table’ discussions between you and your partner direct.

Private mediation

You and your partner work with a neutral third person mediator, to help you agree.

Child expert help

You and your partner meet with a child psychologist to help you agree

Letters by lawyers

Engage a lawyer and through written communications, negotiate an agreement with your partner or 
their lawyer.

Lawyer mediation

You and your partner engage lawyers and participate in mediation to agree.

Collaborative family law

Each be represented by a lawyer and participate in structured meetings to work together as one team of four, to reach an agreement.


Sometimes, it feels much easier to be get what you need without having to actually speak to someone

Get plain English, practical information and resources to help you in your separation without breaking the bank.

If you’re unsure on what you need, call our team on (02) 6100 3629.