We are hearing about this issue a lot this week – my roster (or the other parents’ roster) has changed and now the agreement about spending time with the kids is not workable. It is one of those pandemic/FIFO pitfalls. So what should you do if a roster change is impacting your parenting arrangements?

The first thing you should do is open the conversation with the other party. Honest and clear conversations are the key to negotiating any agreement. If you are the one whose roster has changed then speak with the other party about the change and give all of the details you know – when it is going to occur, how long is it likely to be in place, what impact it is going to have on the arrangement and what do you propose could work as a new arrangement. If both parents are fully informed they are in a better position to make a decision. If you’re the parent at home listen to all of the details and try to work together on a plan to best suit everyone.

Try to have some discussions about how this could work for the short term. We are hearing the roster changes are not forever and it may just be the next six months. See if the parents can work together to reach a short term agreement. It is in the children’s best interest to continue their routine as much as possible as they are already been uprooted from school and unable to see their friends like normal.

Have a look at other interim measures – what about facetime? Facetime is a great tool for FIFO families to enable the children to be able to continue to see the parent on-site and the parent can check in with the children to see how they are going and what they have been up to. (It is also a nice 20-minute break for the parent at home to have a shower or enjoy a cup of *insert drink of choice* without interruption!)

Keeping a calm attitude and working together is going to help both parents and the children.

If you need something formalised consider a parenting plan which can operate alongside of a

If you still can’t reach a happy medium (which usually requires give and take from both sides) then consider booking into mediation. Most Family Dispute Resolution Practitioners are offering Zoom mediations. This means it can happen at any time and provides a safe space for the parties to reach an agreement.

If you are still stuck or just want to shoot some ideas with our family lawyers before negotiating or attending mediation book an initial consultation. Our lawyers are full of great ideas to help parties reach agreement without long, expensive Court proceedings.

Written by Kerstin Stringer – Senior Family Lawyer

Emma answering the phone