If you and your former partner have a child or children together, you may wish to formalise the parenting arrangements, to ensure certainty and reduce any arguments. You and your former partner can formalise your parenting agreement by obtaining court orders from the Family Court (either by consent or otherwise) or by entering into a parenting plan.
Read this blog post to find out more about parenting plans.
Parenting plans are not binding or enforceable in the Family Court. However, the Family Court can look at the terms of the parenting plan when considering what parenting orders to make.
What is a parenting plan?
A parenting plan is an agreement that is:
- made between the parents of a child;
- in writing;
- signed by the parents of the child;
- dated; and
- deals with matters relating to the care, welfare and development of the child.
The parenting plan must be entered into free from any threat, duress or coercion.
The most important thing to consider when making a parenting plan is what is in the best interests of your child.
What can be included in a parenting plan?
A parenting plan may deal with one or more of the following matters:
- Who your child lives with;
- The time your child spends with you and the other parent, or other important persons such as grandparents;
- Who has parental responsibility for your child;
- If you and the other parent agree to share parental responsibility for your child, how you and the other parent will consult with each other when making long-term decision for your child;
- Issues relating to communication between your child and you and the other parent;
- Who will pay for what expenses relating to your child;
- How you and the other party will resolve disputes or change the parenting plan; and
- Any aspect of the care, welfare or development of your child or any other aspect of parental responsibility for your child.
Can I change my parenting plan?
You and your former partner can change the parenting plan at any time (provided that you both agree to the changes) by entering into a new parenting plan.
Do I need to register my parenting plan?
You do not need to register your parenting plan at the Family Court or anywhere. You and your former partner should each keep a copy of your parenting plan. You may wish to provide a copy of your parenting plan to the Child Support Agency, to assist them in making a child support assessment.
Who prepares the parenting plan?
You and your former partner can prepare the parenting plan yourselves.
Applecross Family Lawyers can assist you and your former partner to reach a parenting agreement and will prepare your parenting plan. Most mediation services also prepare parenting plans.
If you require any further information about parenting plans, or your family law matter in general, please contact us on (08) 9364 9915 or 0474 458 340.