When making arrangements for the future parenting of your children there are choices you need to make as responsible parents.
Following separation tensions may be high for many reasons but try not to lose sight of your children’s needs and best interests. Just because you are separating doesn’t mean that your children have to endure or be subjected to conflict.
Many separated couples don’t have any formal or written agreements in place about arrangements for their children but sometimes it becomes necessary, at least in the early stages of separation or in circumstances involving family violence or where there is considerable disagreement. Parenting plans also provide a usefuly reference to parents to ensure there are no misunderstandings about the arrangements.
Parenting Plan or Consent Order
Parenting Plans are quite often all that is needed to assist separated parents in making suitable arrangements for their children. Parenting Plans or agreements may be the product of the parents own discussions and negotiations or a professionally mediated outcome.
Simply put, a parenting plan is an agreement in writing between the parents of a child or children with that written document being signed and dated by both parents. A parenting plan is able to be used as evidence of the parents agreement in court proceedings if that eventuated. Often a parenting plan is most useful for short term or where very young children are involved because they are flexible and capable of change provide both parents agree.
The alternative to a written parenting plan is a Consent Order made by the Family Courts. The difference is that consent orders are enforceable. In other words, if a party fails to abide by the terms of the order (eg where one parent fails to return a child at the conclusion of an ordered period of time with the child) then the parent in breach may be punished by the Court. The Family Courts take breaches of Orders seriously and the consequences can be as serious as imprisonment.
Parenting Plans are useful tools and a properly drafted parenting plan will provide peace of mind and certainty about the agreed arrangements. Contact us to make an appointment to obtain more information about the options available to you in documenting the parenting arrangements for your children.
Put Your Children’s Needs First
Please remember to put your children first, and above your own needs and issues. Family violence, denigration of the other parent in front of children and tension and arguments all impact upon our children and will be detrimental to their current and future well being. Family mediation services are available from a variety of sources including our own mediation services.
If you have reached an agreement and want a parenting plan professionally drafted just contact us and make an appointment to disucss your needs. We can draft parenting plans for a fixed fee.