- The Court encourages parents to make arrangements that meet the needs of the children and family.
- The Court encourages families to make their own decisions and offers a range of mediation services to help them do so.
- Contact with family members is considered to be the right of a child (not the right of a parent).
- Where children express a view and are of sufficient maturity, their views should be considered by parents. There is no set age for this as all children and families are different.
- The Court usually considers that it is in the child’s best interest to maintain contact with both parents.
- Denial of contact with the other parent may have serious consequences for the child’s development.
- Children need to be safe and protected from harm and the Court will make decisions based on a child’s unique circumstances.
For agreements such as Parenting Plans to work, parental cooperation is essential. Without this cooperation, parenting is bound to become difficult and cause problems for both you and your children.
As parents, you are in the best position to make decisions about your children because you know them so well. Older children usually like to play a part in the decision-making as well, so it is important to listen carefully to them when they express opinions or feelings about parenting arrangements. Family and child mediators and counsellors may be able to help you and your children discuss their needs.
When parents cannot agree, the Court will make the arrangements considered to best meet the needs of the children. Judges consider carefully the circumstances of your family before making final decisions and then it is up to both parents to follow the orders made.
An important point to remember is that most children love both parents and although they may have many feelings about the separation, in most cases they miss their parents and want to keep in contact with them.