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Parenting Arrangements in Family Law: Everything You Must Know

Parenting arrangement is one of the essential aspects covered by various family law rules. The family court considers these arrangements valuable because they directly affect the overall welfare of every child. 

One of the primary duties of family courts is to ensure the children’s best interests, especially when they come from a household where violence or abuse is present.

If you are looking for a parenting arrangement that complies with the Australian family law rules, get the help of the most reliable family lawyers only. This will help you simplify the parenting arrangements and get helpful advice regarding the proper child custody procedures.

What Is the Most Common Child Custody Arrangement?

There are a lot of child custody arrangements that are practised in accordance with the family law rules in Australia. However, the most common of these are the following.

1. Sole Custody

Sole custody arrangement means that one parent has primary responsibility for the child, and the other parent has limited or no contact with the child. Sole custody may be shared between two parents.

There are several reasons why sole custody may be the best arrangement for a child. For example, if there is a family history of domestic violence, substance abuse or mental health issues, sole custody may be necessary to protect the child from harm. 

However, there are a few things to keep in mind if you are considering a sole custody arrangement.

  • Have a detailed parenting plan that outlines each parent’s rights and responsibilities. This will help to avoid any confusion or conflict down the road.
  • Being realistic about your ability to co-parent with the other parent is essential. If there is a history of conflict, it may be best to have limited or no contact with the other parent.
  • It is important to consider the needs of your child when deciding custody. What is best for your child may not be what is best for you, and vice versa.

2. Joint Custody

Joint custody can be joint legal custody, joint physical custody or both. Joint child custody is when both parents have legal and/or physical custody of their child. In most cases, joint child custody is awarded to parents who can cooperate and communicate with each other about their child’s best interests. 

There  are many benefits to joint child custody, including: 

  • Children have the opportunity to spend time with both parents
  • Parents can share the responsibility of raising their child
  • Parents can provide a more stable environment for their child.

There are also some challenges that come with joint child custody, such as: 

  • Parents may not be able to agree on every decision
  • Parents may have different parenting styles
  • Parents may live in separate households, which can be disruptive for children.

3. Physical Custody

Physical custody is an arrangement wherein the child will live with one parent most of the time, and the other parent will have scheduled times for visitation. Physical custody does not necessarily mean that the child will spend equal time with each parent.

A number of factors will be considered when determining which parent should have physical custody of a child. These include the child’s age, relationship between the parents and geographical location of each parent. The court will also consider the child’s schooling and extracurricular activities, as well as the parenting skills of each parent.

12 Best Interest Factors in Child Custody

In family law rules, the ‘best interests of the child’ is a phrase that refers to the welfare principle used by courts to determine what is in a child’s best interests. The 12 best interest factors are:

  1. Child’s wishes and preferences (if they are of sufficient age and maturity)
  2. Physical, psychological and emotional needs of a child
  3. Child’s relationship with their family and significant others, including any history of abuse or neglect
  4. Child’s connection to their culture, community and country
  5. Impact of any family violence on the child
  6. Ability of each parent to provide for the child’s needs
  7. Child’s age and stage of development
  8. The need for the child to have a stable and consistent environment
  9. The likely effect of any changes in family structure on the child
  10. Any special needs the child has
  11. The capacity of each parent to provide for the child’s needs (including any step-parents).
  12. Each parent’s willingness to facilitate, and encourage, a close and continuing relationship between the child and the other parent.

These factors are not exhaustive, and the courts may consider other relevant factors in each case, especially those recognised by the family law rules. Courts will often give greater weight to some elements over others, depending on the family’s particular circumstances. 

The child’s best interests are always paramount in family law rules. In some cases, this may result in orders not what the child wanted but deemed in their best interests or firmly prescribed by the family law rules.

What’s the Best Child Custody Arrangement?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to the best child custody arrangement question. This is because the best child custody arrangement will vary depending on the individual family’s circumstances. Based on these factors and the established family law rules, the court will decide what custody arrangement is in the child’s best interests. In many cases, this will involve joint custody, whereby both parents have equal responsibility for the child’s care. 

However, there are also situations where sole custody may be granted to one parent, depending on the specific circumstances. Ultimately, the goal is to make a decision that is in the child’s best interests and will allow the child to have a strong and healthy relationship with both parents.

How Madison Marcus Can Help You

If you are currently confronted by parenting arrangement issues or involved in a child custody case, speak to a family lawyer to ensure your rights are protected. Family law rules can be complex, and an experienced lawyer will be able to advise you on the best course of action to take.

For best results, consider a reliable family lawyer from Madison Marcus to provide you with the much-needed help every step of the way. Our family law specialists will ensure you feel supported throughout. 

For all enquiries or to book a free 15-minute consultation, contact us today.


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