A Parenting Plan is a written and signed arrangement between parents that sets out the care arrangements for their children. It is a good document to provide routine and structure for the parents and children.
What can go into a Parenting Plan?
Because a Parenting Plan is an agreement between parents for their children, you can make it as simple or complex as necessary. Parenting Plans should have information about where the children will live, when they will spend time with each parent and changeover, what will happen on school holidays and special days such as birthdays etc.
How do I make a Parenting Plan?
As the Parenting Plan is between you and the other parent, when you have an agreement about the care arrangements, then you can potentially create a document together. If you need assistance, you may attend mediation where the family dispute resolution practitioner can help you draft it. Alternatively, if you have more complex needs, you may choose to have a lawyer specialising in family law create the Parenting Plan for you.
Can a Parenting Plan be Enforced?
Parents must note that a parenting plan is not binding or enforceable. This document can be produced to a Court to show what the intentions of the parents were but it is not an enforceable agreement.
In families where there is a high level of conflict, a parenting plan may not be the best solution given that it may not be complied with and in those situations, there may be no alternative other than making an application to Court. Parties need to also be aware that the result of the Court proceedings may not be the same as the previously agreed Parenting Plan arrangements.