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Care of Children

When parents or guardians of a child separate, one of the most important issues to work through is
how you will arrange the care of your child. Are you to have an equal share of the day-to-day care or
will one of you have the child most of the time?

It is much better if parents can reach this agreement themselves. This agreement is called a
Parenting Agreement.

The agreement will include:

● Arrangements for day-to-day care. The parents or guardians may agree to share the
day-to-day care equally or one of them may have the day-to-day care most of the time.
● If only on parent or guardian is to have the day-to-day care, then arrangements for contact
will need to be recorded. Also, this will include what happens on special days such as
birthdays and Christmas.
● Other arrangements may the children’s care, development, and upbringing such as
education, travel, and religion.

The Care of Children Act 2004 supports parents and guardians to work through their own
arrangements for the care of children. If an agreement is not working, the Act encourages parents
and guardians to work through the differences themselves. The Family Court arranges free
counselling if it is necessary to assist in coming to a new agreement.

The Parenting Agreement may become the basis of a Family Court Parenting Order if an agreement
between parents or guardians cannot be reached. It is at that time the terms of the agreement can
then be enforced like any other Court order.

The Family Court can also arrange “Parenting Through Separation” courses to help separated parents
(or guardians) understand how the separation affects their child (children) and to help them manage
the process and to deal with each other constructively. Should you wish to be applying for a
Parenting Order from the Family Court you usually will have had to have attended this course within
the last two years.

Disclaimer: The content of this article is general in nature and no intended as a substitute for specific
professional advice on any matter and should not be relied upon for that purpose.