When parents separate, it will often have a big impact on children, particularly younger children. There are some circumstances where it is preferable to have court orders in place.However, in some circumstances, it might be better for a separated family to have the flexibility of a parenting plan. A parenting plan or parenting court orders are the different ways in which arrangements for the children can be formalised.
A parenting plan is an agreement that is normally negotiated between parents who are on amicable talking terms or with the assistance of a family dispute resolution practitioner. The downfall of such agreement is that it is not legally enforceable and you cannot bring the matter before the court.
A parenting plan can have the effect of making a previous court order, on the same issue, unenforceable. For example, if earlier court orders asserted that a child was to spend equal time with each parent, and the parents now make a proper parenting plan stating that the child will live with one parent and spend particular time with the other, the order for equal time will no longer be enforceable. A parenting plan may be changed, or terminated, at any time by written agreement between the parents.
A parenting plan (or parenting order) may deal with any one or more of the following:
The plan must:
The Federal Circuit or the Family Court can make parenting order based on an agreement between parent (consent order) or other orders under section 64B of the Family Law Act. (See other issues referred above in this article). The court will not accept any application seeking parenting order unless both parties participate in pre-action procedures, including attending a Family Dispute Resolution Conference.
There are a number of types of parenting order: