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Parenting Orders Vs Parenting Plans

Parenting Orders and Parenting Plans

Parenting Orders and Parenting Plans

Posted by Matthew Love Family Lawyers on Thursday, September 17, 2020

What are parenting orders?

Parenting orders are orders made by the court concerning the parenting arrangements for children.

Parenting orders deal with:

  • Who the child lives with
  • What time the child can spend with the non-resident parent
  • Communication between the child and the non-resident parent
  • Allocation of parental responsibilities (e.g. who can make medical or educational decisions)
  • Time that the child can spend with other people relevant to the child (e.g. grandparents)

In conclusion, any aspect of the care, welfare and development of a child can be made as a parenting order.

What does the court consider when making a parenting order?

The most important thing that the court considers when making a parenting order is what is in the best interest of the child.

The court must also consider:

  • The child having a meaningful relationship with both parents
  • The need to protect the child from harm, abuse, neglect and/or family violence
  • Views of the child (if they are old enough)
  • The capacity of each parent to provide for the child (physically, mentally, emotionally and financially)
  • The likely effect of the child’s circumstance on the proposed orders

Courts do encourage parents to come to their own arrangements.

What is a parenting plan?

A parenting plan is a written and signed agreement between the parents, which deals with the same things as a parenting order. However, there is one major difference between the two.

What is the difference between a parenting plan and parenting order?

The main difference is that a parenting plan is not legally enforceable by the courts. The court has no involvement, which means the agreement is not registered or filed by the court.

Therefore, if either parent breaches a parenting plan, there isn’t much that the court can do.

It’s important to note that when the court is asked to make a parenting order, they will always consider any previous parenting plans that the parents have agreed to.

Can a parenting order be varied?

Yes, parenting orders can be varied but only in certain circumstances and only if there is significant change in the circumstances of the party and the child that justifies the court making another order.

The simplest way to change a final parenting order is for parents to enter into a parenting plan.

What should parents do – parenting plan or parenting orders?

If parents can agree, consent orders are recommended (a consent order is the written agreement made by parents and filed at the family court to be made into parenting orders).

Parenting orders provide more certainty and can be enforceable if breached.

Note that the costs are similar for drafting both parenting orders and parenting plans.

For tailored legal advice or services drafting these documents, contact us at Love Family Lawyers – call 1300 AT LEGAL, email or book a consultation online.