If you are separating from your partner and there are children in the relationship, sorting out arrangements for their care is one of the most important things you have to do. A parenting plan involves coming up with and recording agreed upon arrangements for looking after the children.
Parents are often able to agree on parenting arrangements. While some parents are able to get by on an informal arrangement, there is always a risk of a future conflict. By having a written record of what the parties have agreed on, everyone can be clear on what the agreed upon arrangements are.
What Should a Parenting Plan Include?
It’s a good idea to attend a ‘Parenting Through Separation’ course (details of these can be found at the local court or by contacting one of the Family Law solicitors at Carlile Dowling) or seek legal advice after you have separated, to get an idea of what you should include in your parenting plan to ensure it is effective and fair.
Some of the things your parenting plan might address include:
- Arrangements for day-to-day care – the parents or guardians might agree that one of them will have day-to-day care most or all of the time, or that they will share day-to-day care of the children equally.
- Arrangements for contact – if only one parent or guardian is to have day-to-day care of the children most or all of the time, your parenting plan can outline arrangements for children to spend time with the other person, such as during holidays and occasions like birthdays and Christmas.
- Costs related to children – how significant costs such school fees, healthcare, extra-curricular activities and other costs will be shared.
- Other parenting issues – issues to do with the children’s care, development and upbringing, such as what school they go to, after-school activities, religion, education and decisions related to travel.
A parenting plan is not a legally binding document and is designed to be flexible. It is common for parenting plans to be updated as time goes on and the circumstances of the parents and children change.
What to Do If the Parenting Plan is Breached
Since a parenting plan is not legally binding, it is not enforceable if one of the parents does not comply with its terms. However, it is possible to apply to the family court to turn a parenting plan into a legally binding parenting order. This means that if either parent fails to comply with the order, the court can take steps to enforce it.
Contact Our Family Law Solicitors Today
If you need advice or assistance negotiating and drafting a parenting plan, consult the experts at Carlile Dowling. Our team has provided trusted legal advice for more than 130 years regarding family law matters such as arrangements for children, relationship property agreements, advice on how long after separation you can claim property, property separation in divorce and other relationship property entitlements under the Property (Relationships) Act 1976.
We also have experts in other areas such as immigration, employment law, commercial law, property law and more. Get in touch today by calling 06 927 8150 or contact us online, transaction, including finding easements, caveats and covenants when conducting a title search.