Family conflict affects children. Sometimes separation between parents can lead to increased parental conflict and anger.
It is essential that children are not drawn into their parents’ dispute, and often a resolution to the conflict between the parents is helpful in settling things down, thus giving the children of a relationship a stable environment in which to develop and reach their full potential.
It is sad when one parent only is involved in the parenting of children, as active parenting by both parents is most often in a child’s best interests. This does not necessarily mean that children need to spend equal time with each parent. The amount of time children spend with each parent is usually dependent on factors such as the geographical location of the parties, their work commitments and the like (ie, do the parents live in neighbouring suburbs or are they in different towns? Does one parent work very long hours, allowing the other parent to be the primary carer?).
Good parenting depends on many various factors, but the core qualities of good parenting are each parent’s:
- willingness and ability to collaborate and co-operate with the other parent about the needs of the children;
- ability to be involved with the children and to support the involvement of the other parent;
- insight into the nurture and raising of the children;
- ability to be child-focused rather than self-focused; and
- commitment to the child’s welfare and development.
Collaboration between parents as to the nurture and care of their children is encouraged, but there are occasions when this is not possible for a variety of reasons. Whatever parenting arrangements are made should be in the best interests of the children. The highest priority is given to providing children with an environment in which they feel physically and psychologically safe. Parenting arrangements can be agreed informally between the parties, or can be formalised by way of a Parenting Plan (filing in Court not required) or Parenting Orders by Consent (filed in the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia). Our family lawyers are constantly updating their knowledge and expertise in legal parenting matters, to be able to provide you with advice that is accurate, current and helpful. Issues of parental responsibility and the sharing of time with the children are best discussed in a consultation with a family lawyer.