Parenting Plans

Separation can be a painful experience – especially for the children involved. During this time, it can be helpful for parents to agree on aspects of your child’s life that will ensure your children remain in a safe and stable environment so they can flourish.

This is a challenging time for all involved and it is important that your children continue to receive the support, love and continued contact with both of parents and other significant people in their lives, such as their grandparents.

When you are both deciding on a parenting plan, what is best for your child should be at the forefront of all your considerations.


What is a parenting plan?

Separating couples are encouraged by the Family Law Court to decide on arrangements for their children between themselves without going to court. One way they can decide and put these arrangements in place for their children is to make a parenting plan.

A parenting plan is a written agreement that sets out the daily arrangements relating to the child and how each parent will share these responsibilities. Often the agreement will contain practical aspects such as contact between the child and their parents at important events such as birthdays, schooling arrangements, and how communication looks like for long-term decisions relating to their children. However, it is not a legally enforceable agreement.

There is no required format for a parenting plan.

Making a parenting plan is cheaper and less stressful than going to court for a parenting order.


Why do I need to make a parenting plan?

With separation comes many changes and decisions to be made, and parents may need help with sorting things out. Parents have the option of coming to an informal arrangement to make a parenting plan. Parenting plans allows children to have a sense of structure and stability in lives.

When deciding on what to agree on, parents should focus on what is best for their children and what can best suit their children’s needs. Parents are encouraged by the Family Law Court to attend family dispute resolution (FDR) to resolve their disputes.

Most separating couples do manage to achieve this using FDR. Parenting plans are an agreement between both parents and will provide structure and clarity on arrangements you have both made.

In some cases, if parents cannot agree, they may go to court to help them make these decisions.

Please seek legal advice for your individual circumstances.


Can I change my parenting plan?

If your circumstances change, your practitioner can help you with creating a new parenting plan.

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