A Parenting Plan is a written agreement between two parents. A Parenting Plan can also include other people such as Grandparents or other relatives (as long as both parents also sign the agreement). For a Parenting Plan to be valid it must be:
- In writing
- Signed by both parents
- Entered into free from duress, threat or coercion
A parenting plan can deal with any aspect of the future parenting of a child and including:
- who a child will live with
- the time a child is to spend with a parent or another person
- the allocation of parental responsibility or decision making for a child
- how parents will consult and make future decisions for children
- the communication (such as by telephone or email) a child will have with another parent or other person
- the process to be used for resolving disputes in the future
- 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 a child
A consent order is an order made by the Court with the consent of both parties. If agreement is reached then a Consent Order is made without the need for parties to attend Court. The agreement is put in writing. It is not necessary to attend Court to have orders made by consent. The documentation, once signed, is filed with the Court and orders are issued with the Court’s seal. Anything that can be included in a Parenting Plan can be included in a Consent Order.
What is the difference between Parenting Plans and Consent Orders?
- A Consent Order can be enforced by the Court by a Contravention Application
- A Parenting Plan cannot be enforced by the Court. If the Plan is not complied with then you can still make an application to the Court
- A Court Order is approved and issued by the Court
- A parenting plan is a private contract between parents which is not registered
- Both a Parenting Plan and a Court Order can be varied by consent (by entering into a fresh order or plan)
- A Parenting Plan does not vary a Court Order but it may be taken into account by the Court in any application to vary or enforce a Court Order.
Please contact us for further information on how we can assist you.