Parenting plans are voluntary agreements, which the parties involved will write, date and sign. They allow parents to remain in control of the process and help to avoid stressful and costly court proceedings.
It is important that parents consider what is best for the child when documenting the agreement.
What to Include
Parenting plans can cover almost any matter concerning the child. However, they will often include the following:
- who a child lives with;
- the time a child spends with each parent and other relatives;
- the responsibilities of each parent;
- when the parents are to consult with each other about decisions for a child;
- how the parents will communicate with each other;
- whether arrangements will be made for special occasions such as birthdays or Christmas;
- how you will resolve disputes;
- arrangements for child support
Whilst parenting plans are a way of documenting an agreement, they are not legally enforceable. To make the agreement binding, you would need to document it as consent orders sealed by the court. However, it is important to understand that a court will only approve a parenting arrangement if it is in the best interests of the child.