If you have recently separated from your partner and are considering making arrangements for your child or children, it may be useful to be aware of certain information. It is my hope that with this preliminary information, you and your former partner might start to rethink the way that you approach the issue of parental care.
When there is an agreement:
Under these circumstances, it may be possible for the agreement to operate informally without the involvement of the Court. This is an ideal outcome but it is important to note that a great deal of planning and commitment from both sides is required for this kind of arrangement to operate successfully.
To assist you with this potential obstacle, it is possible to formalise a parenting agreement. This can firstly occur by way of Consent Orders, which put simply, involves filing an Application for Consent Orders along with a draft copy of your proposed parenting Orders with the Court. The Registrar of the Court will then normally consent to these Orders, without either you or your partner having to appear in court.
The second method of formalising a parenting agreement is to create a written Parenting Plan. Parenting Plans are easier to alter in the future than Consent Orders but they do not have nearly the same force.
At Farrar Gesini Dunn we can help you with the drafting and filing of these documents.
When there is no agreement:
In this situation, you may be of the opinion that commencing proceedings in Court is your only feasible alternative. However, what you may not have taken into account is that after an application is made to the Court, it will take as long as 6-12 months for a Final Hearing to be scheduled, except under limited exceptional circumstances.
Prior to filing an application with the court, there is also a legislative requirement that, in most instances, you are to participate in a form of Family Dispute Resolution. This will typically involve the dispute resolution format of Mediation, which does vary in set up, but nonetheless is dependent on the attendance of you and your partner and a neutral third party.
If you have not been able to reach an agreement in relation to parenting and would like to know more about your available options, then give us a call. At Farrar Gesini Dunn we are committed to helping you reach an agreement and always treat Court as a last resort.