Consent Orders, Parenting Plans and Child Custody Brisbane

Consent Orders and how Parenting Plans can affect them, Parenting Arrangements and Child Custody

You may have obtained a consent order dealing with parenting arrangements for your children and hoped that that would be the final solution to issues you had been having with your former partner over the children. It may have taken a good deal of effort to get to that position. It isn’t always easy to get agreement when you and your former partner have struggled to resolve all the issues that arise from a separation, especially where children are involved.

Certain Things you Should  Know Concerning Parenting Plans and Child Custody in Brisbane

You are thinking that a court order is binding so that you won’t have to think again about working through care arrangements with your former partner. Just follow the terms of the order and you’ll be ok. Right?

Well, not necessarily. For one thing, Court Orders are only as good as their terms. If you have obtained Consent Orders, you cannot expect that the Court has checked that the orders provide for all the major contingencies that can arise for care for your children. It is not the role of the Court to ensure that orders that you ask the Court to make cover every detail-or are free from error in their terms.

Even if your orders do operate well by their terms, they may have been issued when your children were not even attending school. Orders that worked well for your 3 year old may not be as practical in their operation by the time your toddler has become a pre-teen.

A whole variety of issues can arise that could not be considered at the time that Orders were made.  It may be for example that one parent is obliged to transfer interstate so that the time that the current orders provide for the children to spend with that parent will no longer be practical. The current orders may provide that the children attend certain specified schools but for whatever reason, that may no longer be possible.

It is not necessary that you return to Court to obtain a variation of the orders to meet your new circumstances.  You may if you prefer make a Parenting Plan with your former partner varying the terms of the Court Order. A Parenting Plan is a written, signed and dated agreement made between parents without any threat, duress or coercion.

It may deal  with various matters including:

  • The person/s with whom a child is to live;
  • The time that a child is to spend with another person/s;
  • How parental responsibility for a child is to be allocated;
  • The communication, whether by telephone, skype, facetime or otherwise that a child is to have with a person/s (for example, with a parent with whom the child is not living at any time);
  • The process to be followed to resolve disputes or to change the Plan to take account of the changing needs of the child or the parents/parties to the Plan.

Except in exceptional circumstances, a parenting Order is subject to later Parenting Plans (so long as that later Plan has not been made under threat, duress or coercion).

Generally, a parenting Order is taken to include a provision that it is subject to a later written Parenting Plan agreed by the persons who are subject to that Order. That will be so unless the Court included in the Order a provision that the Order could only be varied by subsequent Order of the  Court and not by a Parenting Plan.

The exceptional circumstances where a later Parenting Plan will not have precedence over a previous Court Order include:

  • The need to protect a child from physical or psychological harm from exposure to abuse, neglect or violence; and
  • Where there is substantial evidence that one of the parents may use coercion or duress to obtain the other parent’s agreement to a subsequent Parenting Plan.

Getting Help with Child Custody in Brisbane

A Parenting Order may also be varied or replaced by a subsequent Court Order in certain circumstances.

If you need a variation of the terms of a Parenting Order to meet your changing family circumstances, our Child Custody Lawyers are happy to assist you. Contact us for an initial complimentary phone consultation.