When separated parents reach an agreement as to the care arrangements for their child, they can formalise the agreement in two ways:
- Consent Orders – a legally binding and enforceable court Order; or
- Parenting Plan – a flexible and cost efficient agreement.
What is a parenting plan?
A parenting plan is an agreement between two parents about the care welfare and development for their child. It must be in writing, signed by the parents and dated.
Why are they useful?
Parenting plans are useful for parents to enter shortly after their separation when they are learning to find a new ‘normal’ for their child care arrangements. This change can be very difficult, and flexibility is crucial in these times, especially when the child is of a young age and their needs change as they grow up.
As the parenting plans are not binding, they provide flexibility for parents to update them as their child grows up and the parents can understand what care arrangement appears to be in the child’s best interests.
It is important to remember that parenting plans are not enforceable and may not be appropriate in all circumstances. These include if there are allegations of risk as well as poor communication and trust between the parties.
If the care arrangements break down in the future and a court is left to determine who the child should live with, the court actually can have regard to a parenting plan previously entered into by the parents when making a parenting Order.
Come and speak to our Family Law team where we can assist in negotiating to reach an agreement. From there, we can also help you enter an amicable parenting plan/Consent Order. Simply contact our office on (02) 6331 2911, we're here to help!
Beatrice Patterson | Solicitor