How to Negotiate a Fair Child Custody Arrangement


Every year in Australia, more than 49,000 couples get divorced. While divorce is often a healthy choice, this doesn’t always make it easy.

Getting divorced can be a confusing and emotional time, but it also requires a lot of practical planning, especially if you have children. If you do then your children are not alone. Between 50,000 and 60,000 children see their parents divorce each year.

Organizing child custody arrangements creates stability for you and your children. But finding a fair arrangement for everyone can feel challenging.

This is where a family lawyer in Parramatta can help. Read on to find out our top tips for negotiating a fair child custody arrangement.

Understand Your Child Custody Options

When it comes to family law, there are no strict rules about child custody arrangements. So you and your ex need to figure out what will work best and agree on this.

The main things to consider include:

  • Which parent your child will live with and when
  • A contact schedule for each parent (especially if your children are living with one parent full-time)
  • How each parent is going to fulfill their financial responsibility to their children

Most of the time, a child will not split their time exactly 50:50 between each parent. They might live with one parent for the majority of the week and stay with the other at weekends. This depends a lot on each of your schedules and your child’s schedule.

If you are seriously concerned about your ex’s parenting then you can negotiate to look after your child full-time. Depending on whether or not your ex wants to appeal this, you may have to provide evidence to support your reasoning. Most courts will also try to encourage some contact time between your ex and your child if this is deemed safe or appropriate.

Prioritize Your Child’s Needs

All family lawyers will tell you that, regarding custody, you have to prioritize your child’s needs. If your case goes to family court, then this will also be the judge’s priority.

You need to support:

  • A schedule that will create stability in their lives
  • A healthy relationship with both parents

Of course, you also need to look at which parent is able to provide the best care for their child.

During a divorce, it is important to listen to your children and their emotions; however, you should never try to pin this decision on them. Putting them in the middle of a custody decision could be extremely damaging. On top of this, their reasons for choosing one parental home over the other might not be particularly logical.

Try to Keep Your Emotions in Check

Choosing where your child is going to live and how much time you get to spend with them is always going to be emotional. And it is important that you talk about how you are feeling with your loved ones or a professional.

However, you also need to try and keep your emotions in check when making custody decisions. This will help you prioritize your child’s needs and think practically about building a life that will work for everyone.

Set Realistic Expectations

To keep your emotions in check, it is important to be realistic about your custody expectations. This will make it easier to agree on a fair arrangement.

For example, let’s say that both parents want to have contact with their child. Most courts will support this except in extreme circumstances, such as instances of abusive behavior. So you need to make peace with the fact that your child will spend some of their time with your ex.

It is important to recognize what your child needs and the best way to achieve it. This will help you set realistic expectations for your custody arrangements.

Get Help From a Mediator

Mediators can play a huge role in divorce law and are extremely helpful regarding child custody arrangements. Having someone else in the room who can be objective will help you manage your emotions.

A mediator listens to both parties in a divorce. You can share your concerns with them and explain the reasoning behind your ideas for child custody. They will then discuss this information with both of you to help you reach an arrangement that you feel is fair.

If you and your ex are on good terms but are struggling to agree on a custody arrangement, this can be a good place to find support.

Get Support From a Family Lawyer in Parramatta

The majority of people separating in Australia will seek help from a divorce attorney. Your attorney will help you manage every area of your divorce and this includes getting a fair custody arrangement in place.

If you cannot agree on a custody arrangement, then they will:

  • Talk you through your options
  • Act as a representative in negotiations
  • Fight for the arrangement that you want in family court (if your case goes this far)

Hiring a lawyer can also help protect you from the most emotional aspects of child custody negotiations. They will keep a level head on your behalf and limit the amount of time you have to spend with your ex. Divorce attorneys have plenty of experience managing these cases and will be sure to handle yours sensitively.

This means that you can focus on getting through this difficult time and spending time with the people you love.

Speak to a Family Divorce Lawyer Today

As you can see, there are a lot of things to consider when negotiating child custody arrangements. Putting your child’s needs first and trying to keep your emotions in check will definitely help you reach a fair agreement.

If you would like support with your negotiations, get in touch with a family lawyer in Parramatta today. We’re happy to help.