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Our custody lawyers can assist you with making parenting plans

A parenting plan is a written agreement that is often done by way of organising parenting plans or a consent order. Parenting plans are less formal than consent orders and aren’t a court order. Parenting plans are a written agreement that is signed and agreed to by the parties concerned with parenting. An example of how a parenting plan works is if two or more people share parental responsibility for long-term decisions. In this case, a parenting order can outline how the parents will communicate with each other regarding decisions for the child. While there is no formal penalty for breaching parenting plans, in many circumstances, they are a handy document.

People use parenting plans for many reasons:

  • They want to have the parenting arrangements put in writing.
  • The children’s parents want something in place they can rely on for guidance, outlining parenting responsibilities.
  • They have parenting proceedings afoot, and they want something temporary in place in the meantime.
  • A child’s relationship is complicated because of a Protection Order, meaning can’t see or speak to the kids without one.

What a parenting plan will cover:

When emotions run high after a split and children are sometimes involved, it’s good to have a piece of paper which spells out where the children spend time and who sees the kids and when. A good family lawyer can help you negotiate a parenting plan and help resolving disputes.

  • Care arrangements
    • Where the children live
    • Who the children spend time with and how much time they spend
    • Schooling or medical treatment
    • Communication about other issues (child support)
  • How the parents will communicate with each other about decisions for the child

A parenting plan can be:

  • any written agreement, and;
  • signed by the parties, and;
  • detailing parenting matters.

Enforceability of a parenting plan

The Family Law Act sets out what the court must consider when deciding what kind of parenting orders to make. A parenting plan is not a legally enforceable agreement. They do not serve as a foolproof way to ensure the other parent complies with parenting arrangements. If a matter goes to Court, a Court may ‘have regard’ to a parenting plan. The Court might then decide how much weight to give to it depending on the individual circumstances. The court will assume that it is in the child’s best interests for parents to share equal shared parental responsibility, except in cases where there has been child abuse or family violence.

You are required to submit a certificate from a family dispute resolution practitioner along with your application, confirming your attendance or attempt to attend family dispute resolution, or stating their professional opinion if it’s deemed inappropriate for you to participate.

High Conflict Relationships

Sometimes, despite whatever advice given to them by their Family Lawyer, parties remain in an intractable, never-ending conflict, unable to see eye to eye with the other person. These people have a lot of difficulty co-parenting. Even in these circumstances, these types of people will benefit from an agreement which is set out very clearly and in plain English

The parties may also benefit from having clear and comprehensive parameters for communicating with each other and with the child. For example, changeover arrangements which occur before and after school can enable the parties in these types of relationships to avoid seeing each other, if at all!

Where to now?

Deciding whether a parenting plan is suitable for your family law matter depends on the unique circumstances of your case. A parenting order is legally enforceable and there can be serious consequences for disobeying an order. It is crucial to discuss your situation with an experienced and trusted family law firm. Our family lawyers at Cudmore Legal will provide guidance and help you determine the best course of action in this high conflict situation. While parenting plans won’t always provide the security and certainty of final Court Orders, Parenting Plans and legal effect, help many people reach agreement on parenting arrangements. Cudmore Legal Family Lawyers Brisbane Co are a Family Law firm who can work with you to develop a Parenting Plan suited to your needs.

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