Parents have responsibilities towards their children regardless of how they became a parent and regardless of their relationship with another parent. When parents separate or divorce, important decisions about how to continue to care for the children must be made. These decisions must also be made when parents have a child together but are not in a relationship.

The basic decisions include:

  • where the children will live
  • when the children will spend time with each parent, or other people in their lives
  • how decisions about the children will be made

If parties are unable to agree on these issues, they can ask the court to make parenting orders. There are laws that set out what the court will and will not consider when deciding on parenting arrangements. Understanding these principles can help parents reach their own agreement. These principles will also help parents who need to go to court decide what to ask for and how to best explain their reasons to the court.