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Parenting Plans:

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A parenting plan is an agreement between the parties as to the parenting arrangements of the child or children of a relationship. A parenting plan, often referred to as a parenting agreement, can cover a range of matters including the day to day management of the children’s affairs, any long-term issues in relation to the children and any other practical considerations. The advantage of a parenting plan is that it is negotiated between the parties and there is usually no need to involve the courts. The negotiation of a parenting plan gives certainty and control to the parties over the outcome. Our Family Lawyers have extensive experience in advising and assisting clients with negotiating parenting plans. 

Generally, a parenting plan is prepared when a marriage or a de facto relationship has broken down and there are children as a result of the relationship. However, a parenting plan can be executed by any person concerned with the welfare of the child. For example, a parenting plan may be entered into by a grandparent or other relative. For married couples, a parenting plan can be entered into during the relationship or after divorce.

A parenting plan is different from a parenting order. A parenting plan is usually prepared without the involvement of the courts and is not legally enforceable like a Court order. However, this does not mean that it has no significance if there is an issue between the parties. For instance, if a parenting plan was agreed by both parties and later, one party no longer wishes to adhere to the parenting plan, the matter may go to court and the parenting plan (and in particular the extent to which it has been adhered to and the significance of the parenting plan leading up to the events giving rise to litigation or court action) may be a relevant factor to be considered by the court in any court proceedings, when making any parenting or other orders. A parenting order is an order issued by the court and is legally enforceable. 

A parenting plan can be made legally enforceable, essentially through the execution of consent orders in the terms of the parenting plan. To do this, you should instruct a Solicitor who can ensure that relevant matters have been considered and that the proposed consent orders are in proper form and correct order, before being lodged with the Court. The court will assess the proposed orders and if satisfied, it will issue the consent orders.  Under no circumstances should you seek to obtain consent orders or file an application for consent orders, without first obtaining legal advice from a family lawyer. 

Similarly, prior to commencing any Court action or sending correspondence to the other party where the other party has breached the terms of a parenting plan, you should seek independent legal advice from an experienced family lawyer. 

There are advantages to a parenting plan as well as disadvantages to a parenting plan. For example, whilst the simplistic and amicable nature of arriving at a parenting plan is often less stressful and less expensive than proceeding formally through the Court system for consent orders to be arrived at, the ability to enforce a parenting plan is more difficult, especially when the terms of a parenting plan are often not approved by (or in most cases known to) the Court.

Our Family Lawyers can go through your parenting plan matter and provide family law legal advice on the best way forward. If you wish to make an appointment, contact us by telephone on (02) 9233 4048 or send an email to info@navado.com.au. 

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This webpage (and any material or wording appearing on this webpage) is provided for general information purposes only and does not constitute any Legal Advice. It does not take into account your objectives, your instructions or all of the relevant facts and/or circumstances. Navado accepts no responsibility to any person who relies on the information provided on this website. We further refer you to our Disclaimer.

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