Children and Parenting

We regularly assist people with their parenting arrangements, binding child support agreements and domestic and international child relocation matters. 

Children and Parenting

Parenting Arrangements​

One of the most important issues on your mind when your relationship with your former partner comes to an end is likely to be ‘what happens with our children?’ 

It is normal for parents to be anxious about how this will all play out for them and what it will mean for them and their children.

Making decisions that are in your children’s best interest in the aftermath of separation is challenging when emotions are still raw and effective communication with the other parent can be challenging.

We have experience in helping parents to navigate the nuanced issues concerning the care of their children including but not limited to, where they will live, the time they spend with each parent, schooling, holidays and arrangements for special occasions, overseas travel, religious upbringing, medical decisions, communication and protecting children from harm.

The law sets out guiding principles to assist parents to reach agreement regarding the living arrangements and other specific issues for their children or failing agreement, to assist the Court to make decisions on their behalf. The paramount consideration is the best interests of your children.

Children and Parenting

Determining Parenting Arrangements

Making early and informed decisions about the proposals you make for your children and the manner in which you communicate with the other parent may have a significant impact on the months and years ahead and the wellbeing of your children.

With our expert advice, we can assist you to navigate parenting arrangements for your children. This can be done in a way to minimise the impact on you and your children and to keep with your goals.

Our team enjoys positive working relationships with counsellors, psychologists and psychiatrists to assist you to achieve the best possible outcomes, both in a legal and a personal sense.



Children and Parenting

Pre & Post Separation Advice
Parenting Agreement Lawyers

Our team of family lawyers has unparalleled expertise to: 

  • Provide advice and assistance as to the future arrangements for your children
  • Provide pre-separation or post-separation advice on how to maximise your opportunity for future time with your children
  • Provide representation and guidance during family dispute resolution, mediation or discussions with the other parent to assist you to reach an agreement
  • Legally document your parenting agreement to ensure it is binding and enforceable

Where Court proceedings are required, we advocate on your behalf and prepare all prerequisite Court documentation.

Children and Parenting

Child Support

It is intended that child support obligations are dealt with by parents directly with the Services Australia (Child Support).

There is a child support estimator available on the Services Australia website which provides an indication of how much child support you may be assessed to pay or entitled to receive.

However, the child support system and the formula used to calculate child support can be complex and does not always reflect all circumstances such as higher income families, children with special needs or delinquent payers.

We can assist you with some of the lesser known areas and complexities, including child support when one parent lives outside of Australia. We can assist you to strategically plan your child support arrangements and obligations for the future to ensure the best possible arrangement is in place based on your and the other parents’ circumstances.

Children and Parenting

Child Support Advice | Child Support Lawyers

We regularly assist people to document agreements about child support as part of the overall financial settlement.

Our team of award winning family lawyers can help you by:

  • Advising you as to your options regarding child support which may include arranging a private child support agreement, in either a Limited or Binding Child Support Agreement
  • Assisting you to alter the Services Australia assessed child support amount to better suit your individual circumstances – such as for payment of private school fees or other child related expenses.
  • Seeking Orders for payment of child support by lump sum
  • Assisting in steps to recover unpaid child support, including recovery of child support abroad
  • Advising you as to establishing a child maintenance trust to assist to meet child support obligations in the most tax effective way.
Children and Parenting

Relocation of Children

It is often difficult to strike a balance between the freedom of one parent to move and the right of the child to spend time with both their parents regularly. Achieving both objectives is extremely hard and because of the nature of each of the parents’ proposals there is often little room for compromise.

Judges often find relocation cases difficult to determine as commonly both parents have valid reasons for their proposals. Often the parent wanting to relocate wishes to do so for work or family related reasons, including moving with a new partner or returning home to access family support.

We have extensive experience in helping parents to navigate the nuanced issues concerning making a proposal to relocate with their children or resist the other parent relocating – both within Australian and internationally.

We have also assisted many parents to negotiate an agreement to relocate without the need to go to Court.

Children and Parenting

Children and Relocation | Family Law Advice

When a parent wants to relocate to a place which is far enough away to impact on the time that the other parent spends with a child, challenges can often arise.

Relocating with a child after divorce needs to be thought through carefully, and parents, whether they are the parent wanting to move or the other parent, should seek legal advice early.

Common Questions About Children, Co Parenting,
Relocation & Child Support

In general, there is no easy way to break the news to your children that you are separating but there are things you can do to try and make the children cope better with the news. It is very important to try and leave your feelings, whether they are guilt, anger or blame, out of any discussion that you have with your child. It is also important to ensure that whatever is communicated is suitable for the child’s age, maturity and individual personality. 

Research suggests that it is helpful to reinforce that the separation is not the child’s fault and you should look to give them reassurance that their parents love them and will be involved in their lives. 

Where appropriate, you may wish to give your children information if there is going to be a change to their living arrangements or their daily routine, if that has been agreed or determined. Older children may be more likely to have sensed that changes are afoot and the news may not come as a surprise, but positive reinforcement is still likely to be beneficial.

Read more about helping children through divorce

If you and your former spouse or partner are not communicating well, or there is a tendency for conversations to escalate, we recommend initially avoiding telephone or face-to-face contact if you can. When you are having challenges in your communications, face-to face-discussions and telephone calls can easily spiral and such forms of communication are unpredictable and often off-the-record. Then, often, the damage is almost always done. If you find yourself in situations where things can become heated or challenging, you may be unable to recover from anything you might say (that may harm your case) and there are often additional costs involved as lawyers need to be involved to help in recovering from these issues.

For parenting matters, it is obviously more complicated because you will need to communicate more urgently or frequently about matters relating to your children. Whilst direct contact is best and shows a commitment to positive co-parenting, where appropriate, as you co-parent your children, if you are facing toxic communication, it is best to primarily communicate by email and or text message – even if only for a short period of time to minimise potential risks to yourself and your children.

Read more about avoiding toxic communication during separation

There is a notion that Courts have a preference for mothers and uphold a mother’s legal rights over a father’s legal rights to see their children. This simply isn’t true.

A child’s legal rights to see their father are equal to any child’s legal rights to see their mother. There is no part in the Family Law Act that says a mother has more rights than the father. The Act talks about the child’s best interests and that the child has a right to having a meaningful relationship with both parents.

Read more about parenting arrangements and the law

Read more about what the law says about the best interests of the child

A desire to move may be triggered by an employment opportunity or perhaps in an effort to be closer to family members for support. However, if you are the parent who wants to relocate, you may need to get the other parent’s consent before you move if it will impact the time spent with each parent and the overall workability of existing parenting arrangements.

In Australia the law takes into account numerous factors where the relocation of children is considered, both domestically and internationally.

Read more about relocating with a child after separation

As family lawyers, it is common that we help parents draft the terms of their parenting arrangements, including specific arrangements regarding overseas travel with children. Typically, there are clear parameters in the agreement about the parent’s ability to travel with their children overseas, including what information the travelling parent will need to provide to the non-travelling parent prior to the date of departure.

Read more about international travel with children when separated

When a separating couple is looking to determine who will contribute funds for what for their children now and into the future, there are four main ways in which that can happen. People either:

  • Apply for a child support assessment
  • Enter into a Binding Child Support Agreement;
  • Enter into a Limited Child Support Agreement; or
  • Apply to the Court for Child Support Departure Orders.

Read more about each of these child support options & how they work

More often than not, one parent will be required to pay the other parent child support. While this amount can be determined by a specific calculation, in some instances a separating couple may instead choose to opt for a binding child support agreement. That is, a detailed formal document that both parties agree to.

Read more about the advantages & disadvantages of binding child support agreements

Children and Parenting

Award Winning Parenting & Children's Matters Lawyers

Phillips Family Law is proud to be recognised as a Leading Queensland and Australian Law Firm by the industry and our peers.

The depth of our team is demonstrated by our listing as First Tier Queensland Family Law Firm, and as a Leading Australian Family Law Firm each year since 2015.

Pre & Post Separation Parenting Arrangements Advice | Parenting Agreement Lawyers

Family Law, particularly where children are involved, is complex and nuanced. It makes sense to have people on your team whose sole focus and expertise is Family Law.