What is a Parenting Plan?

The family law system (the Family Law Act and Federal Parliament) encourages parents to make their own arrangements for their children rather than the Courts.

A Parenting Plan is a document recognised by the Family Law Act and is capable of being produced in Court to evidence the agreement set out in the document. The only formalities required are that the documents is in writing, dated and signed by both parents. It must also be made free from any threat, duress or coercion. Essentially the agreement needs to be a voluntary one.

It is a flexible document, capable of being changed (in writing) by the parents as often as they like provided they both agree. Of course parents can change a parenting plan without any formality by simply agreeing between them to change arrangements.

Parenting plans can cover all aspects of arrangements for children including how parental responsibility will be shared, who the child lives with and how much time the child spends with both parents, communicate with both parents etc.

It is important to recognise the difference between parenting plans and consent orders or orders made by a Court. In short, Court orders are enforceable and breaches of orders may result in contravention proceedings and the courts imposing punishment (ranging from imprisonment to orders to undergo parenting courses).

Family Lawyers & Mediation Services can help you create your own parenting plan. If you can’t agree then we offer family disptue resolution (mediation). Find out more at our children’s website.

This is general information only and is not legal advice. You should obtain specific legal advice regarding your specific circumstances. © Family Lawyers & Mediation Services. All rights reserved. Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.