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What is a parenting plan?

Emma Mead of Burke and Mead Lawyers advises there are three different agreements when it comes to arrangements with your children.

  1. A parenting plan
  2. A consent order
  3. A parenting order

People often refer to these various documents as a Custody Plan.

Parenting plan

A parenting plan is a written agreement setting out parenting arrangements for the child/ren. It is like a diary, setting out who will see the children on each day. A parenting plan is developed and agreed jointly, meaning if an agreement is reached, you and your partner do not need to go to court. This is often done at the point of separation.

A parenting plan is not a legally enforceable agreement. It is different from a parenting order, which is made by a court.

Consent order

A consent order is a written agreement that is approved by a court, based on an agreement that you have made together. But consent orders have the same legal effect as if they had been made by a judicial officer after a court hearing.

A consent order can cover parenting arrangements for children as well as financial arrangements such as property and maintenance.

Parenting order

A parenting order is a court authorised document. That means it is legally binding. It is usually a decision made by the court when parents can’t decide. Courts impose this order on each party. This document is usually issued at the settlement stage.

Also, any person concerned with the care, welfare and development of a child can apply for parenting orders.

In all circumstances, the court must be satisfied that the orders you ask for are in the best interest of the child/ren.


Related downloads

Parenting plan example

Consent order example

Parenting order example