Ending a relationship and legally divorcing can be a traumatic experience for a couple, but when children are involved it becomes even more emotional and complex. To the Family Law Courts, the interests of the children are paramount and it is this principle that is used to make decisions concerning their welfare after you divorce.

From a legal standpoint, both parents are responsible for the care and welfare of their children until they reach their majority, at 18 years of age. The Court also takes the stance that cooperation between both parents and shared responsibility are also in the best interests of the children. If you are unable to reach an agreement with your ex-partner about the care of your children after your divorce or you believe that your children’s safety may be compromised if they are with your ex-partner, you may need the Family Court to intervene.

How to proceed if you both agree on caring for your children

If both of you can agree on custody arrangements and how to care for your children, then you can create a parenting plan. This is a written agreement between both parents that outlines the custody and care of your children post-divorce. A parenting plan however is not enforceable, it’s simply an agreement between both parents. However, if you want a more formal agreement of your parenting plan, you can present an Application for a Consent Order to the Family Court. This formalises your agreement and is legally enforceable.

How A Divorce Works With Children

Your parenting plan should at least cover the following items:

• Who has custody of the children or if custody is shar