The Family Law Act defines a Parenting Plan as an agreement that:
- is in writing;
- is or was made between the parents of a child;
- is signed by the parents of the child;
- is dated; and
- deals with at least one of the matters set out below.
One of the advantages of a Parenting Plan, is its flexibility and inclusion of a broader range of matters than a Court Order. Matters that can be dealt with in a Parenting Plan include:
- who a child lives with;
- the time a child spends with another person;
- the allocation of parental responsibility;
- if 2 or more persons are to share parental responsibility for a child — the form of consultations required about decisions;
- communication between a child and another person;
- maintenance of a child;
- the process to be used for resolving disputes about the terms or operation of the plan;
- the process to be used for changing the plan to take account of the changing needs or circumstances of the child or the parties to the plan;
- any aspect of the care, welfare or development of the child or any other aspect of parental responsibility for a child.
Parenting Plans are not filed in the Family Court like consent orders. They are particularly advantageous when parents are able to communicate effectively because they are flexible and include a broad range of issues. However, if one parent breaches a Parenting Plan, it cannot be as readily enforced as a Court Order but it may be considered by the Court in any subsequent Court proceedings.
If you consider a Parenting Plan may help with arrangements regarding care of your children, please contact us. Alternatively, if you are not sure that a Parenting Plan is appropriate in your circumstances, please read further information on our website about Consent Orders or commencing an Application in the Family Court or Federal Circuit Court.
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