Parenting Arrangements

Create Your Parenting Arrangements with Expert Family Lawyers

Burke Mead Lawyers is an experienced team of family lawyers, assisting clients with a range of services in family law matters, including parenting arrangements and consent orders. 

Our family law services are delivered by a team of expert family lawyers, whose experience with family  court proceedings will assist you and your family  in receiving the support you need. 

Whether you are dealing with a standard or more complex family law matter, our team can offer support, guidance, and expert advice every step of the way. 

For practical legal advice regarding your parenting arrangements, contact Burke Mead Lawyers for a consultation today.

Parenting Arrangements Explained

When it comes to parenting arrangements – sometimes also called a parenting agreement or parenting plan – the best outcomes for all parties involved occur when parents can come to their own agreement. This is usually done during the mediation process and helps separating or divorcing parents to focus on the needs and best interests of the children involved. 

Parenting arrangements can be or include;

  • an oral agreement,
  • a written parenting plan, or
  • an agreement that is put into a formal court order (consent order)

A parenting plan is an informal agreement that outlines how the two parties plan to co-parent their children and the logistical details regarding how that will happen, while consent orders have to be formally drafted as an application and submitted to the court. 

In most cases, your family lawyer and mediator will attempt to explore all possible paths to the parties making their own arrangement.

What to consider when making a parenting agreement

There are a variety of factors and considerations to think about when making a parenting arrangement, and the arrangement will inevitably adapt and change over time as circumstances and the needs of the child change. This is why it’s important parents are able to come to their own agreements regarding how to manage the care and practicalities of raising children.

When making parenting arrangements, parents will need to consider the following:

  • practical factors, e.g. where the child/children will live, transport, expenses, etc.
  • the age of the child/children;
  • which parent is can best provide for day-to-day care;
  • educational needs of the child/children;
  • any special needs to consider, e.g. medical and schooling;
  • cultural needs of the child, especially where the child is Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander;
  • the child/children’s safety and potential threats to their safety
  • views of the child/children if old enough.

It can be overwhelming to consider the wide variety of needs and responsibilities to cover in a parenting arrangement, which is why you want to work with experienced experts in family law matters. Our family law experts have experience in helping parents create functional and flexible arrangements that can help them manage the responsibilities to their children fairly.

The Benefits of Parenting Arrangements

There are numerous benefits to parenting arrangements, primarily that you can come to an agreement with your former partner or spouse that works best for both of you. You can take into consideration each other’s unique circumstances and organise an arrangement accordingly that will produce the most sustainable and positive outcome available.

Family lawyers are experienced in the mediation and negotiation of parenting arrangements, and can guide you throughout the process to create an arrangement that provides the best outcome for everyone.

Burke Mead Lawyers are some of the top family lawyers in Newcastle, the Hunter region, and the Central Coast. The team is led by Emma Mead, the Director of Burke Mead Lawyers, an Accredited Mediator.

If you are experiencing a separation or divorce and need to make a parenting arrangement, you can call us on 4902 3800, or email us on [email protected] and find out what to do and how we can assist you.


Get in touch today for a free case assessment with our Family Law team

Parenting Arrangement FAQs

A parenting arrangement is an oral or written agreement that outlines the logistics and expectations of each parent in regard to how they plan to raise their child/children. Ideally, any parenting arrangement would be mutually agreed to by all parties involved and would assign equal shared parental responsibility. To create a legally enforceable agreement, you will need to make an application to the court for consent orders.

The short answer is both parents automatically have parental responsibility, regardless of whether they are in a relationship or separated. Both parents have an obligation to financially support their children until they are at least 18 years of age and that legal obligation does not change following a separation or when one or both parents re-partner. A parent’s new partner does not have a legal obligation to support another person’s child.

The main difference between a parenting plan and consent orders is the level of formality; one is informal and the other is a formal application.

Parenting Plans: A parenting plan is a written record – signed and dated – of an agreement between the parents that details the care of shared children. There is no required format, as it is an informal agreement and not legally enforceable.

Consent Orders: Consent orders are made for one of two reasons – parents have come to an agreement on their own but would like to put the agreement into formal court orders, or, the parents have been unable to reach an agreement on their own and require parenting orders. The Australian Government has published a handbook on how to develop parenting orders, which is a resource for separating parents and legal professionals to help prepare clear and practical parenting orders that focus on the best interests of the children. The Family Courts also have “Do It Yourself Kits” and guidance about applying for parenting orders to help parents manage more of the process themselves.

When it comes to parenting arrangements, the Family court will favour arrangements that prioritise the “best interests of the child”. But what do the courts consider to be the best intersts of a child?

Family law considers that the best interests of your child or children include:

-ensuring the child/children are encouraged to have a meaningful relationship with both parents.

-the arrangement protects the child/children from physical and/or psychological harm (such as abuse, neglect, or family violence).

-ensuring the child/children have adequate and appropriate parenting/parental supervision to ensure their safety and to help them succeed.

-ensuring that parents have equal shared parental responsibilities and that they fulfil their duties in meeting those responsibilities regarding the care, welfare, and development of their child/children.

Even where children may have unique or special needs, these considerations are still applicable as they focus on the behaviour and involvement of the parents involved.

The cost for a family lawyer can vary depending on the case and what complicating factors may be involved. The cost of working with a family lawyer will be dependent on the time involved in resolving the family law dispute.

We understand finances can be a complicated matter and can discuss all financial information during the initial obligation-free consultation.

Related Services

Our Family Lawyers

Senior Associate

Family Law

Olivia Brennan


Family Law


Get in touch with our Family Law  team