Nature and Requirements of a Parenting Plan

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Family Lawyers Brisbane City, Brisbane Family Lawyers, Child Custody Lawyers Brisbane

If you are struggling with care arrangements for your child post-separation, you should consider a Parenting Plan (or where necessary, a consent order). Our Family Lawyers Brisbane, explain what a Parenting Plan is and how it works.

What is a Parenting Plan?

A Parenting Plan is a written agreement between the parents of a child, regarding matters affecting their children and made free from coercion, threat, or duress.

Although a Parenting Plan may refer to persons other than the parents of a child, they can only be signed by the parents of a child. Arrangements then for a child to spend time with a grandparent or for a grandparent to share or have parental responsibility for a child, cannot be formalised by a Parenting Plan without the consent and agreement of the parents. If parents will not provide consent, then a grandparent would need to seek orders of the Court providing for arrangements of this kind involving them.

Section 63C(2) of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) provides that a Parenting Plan may deal with any of the matters specified in that section, which include:

  • The person/s with whom a child is to live;
  • The time that a child is to spend with another person or other persons;
  • The allocation of parental responsibility for a child (parental responsibility may be made in favour of a parent or any other person, including a grandparent);
  • If two or more persons are to share parental responsibility for a child, the form of consultation those persons are to have with one another about decisions to be made about the exercise of that responsibility;
  • The communication that a child is to have with another person/s;
  • Maintenance of a child;
  • The process to be used for resolving disputes about the terms of or operation of the plan;
  • The process to be used for changing the plan to take account of the changing needs or circumstances of the child or the parties to the plan;
  • Any aspect of the care, welfare or development of the child or any other aspect of parental responsibility for the child.

Section 63CAA provides that an agreement may be both a Parenting Plan and a child support agreement.

Lawyers’ obligations

A lawyer is obliged to inform clients that they could consider entering into a Parenting Plan and where they can obtain assistance to do so and the content of the plan (section 63DA(1), Family Law Act 1975 (Cth)). The lawyer may provide that assistance but if they do so, the lawyer must inform the client of the matters set out in section 63DA(2).

Section 63DA(2)of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) provides in effect that, where advice is given to a parent about a Parenting Plan, the lawyer must:

  1. Inform the parent that, if the child spending equal time with them is:

(i) reasonably practicable;

(ii) in the child’s best interests,

they could consider the option of an arrangement of that kind.

  1. Inform the parent that, if the child spending equal time is not reasonably practicable or is not in the best interests of the child but the child spending substantial or significant time with each of them is:

(i) reasonably practicable;

(ii) in the child’s best interests,

they could consider the option of an arrangement of that kind.

  1. inform the parent of the matters that may be dealt with in a Parenting Plan in accordance with Section 63DA(2)of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth).
  2. inform the parent that, if there is a parenting order in force, the order may include a provision that it is subject to a subsequent Parenting Plan.
  3. Where parents are to share parental responsibility, inform them about the desirability of including in the plan, provisions dealing with the way they will avoid future conflicts and misunderstandings, the process for future dispute resolution and the process by which the plan may be changed in the future to take account of the changing needs or circumstances of the child or the parties to the plan.
  4. Explain to them, in language they are likely to understand, the availability of programmes to help with any difficulties experienced in relation to Parenting Plans.
  5. Inform the parent that section 65DAB of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) requires the court to have regard to the terms of the most recent Parenting Plan when making a parenting order in relation to a child, if it is in the best interests of the child to do so.
Family Lawyers Brisbane City, Brisbane Family Lawyers, Child Custody Lawyers Brisbane

Family Lawyers Brisbane City

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Can a Parenting Plan be registered?

A Parenting Plan could be registered with the court until 2003 but not since that time.

Can a Parenting Plan be altered and if so, how?

A Parenting Plan may be altered by a subsequent agreement made in writing, between the parties to the original agreement (ie. by the parents of a child).

Can the terms of a Parenting Plan be enforced?

Parenting Plans are not of themselves enforceable although the Court is required to take the existence of a Parenting Plan into account in proceedings concerning contravention of court orders. (Refer section 70NEC, Family Law Act 1975 (Cth)).

What next?

If you want to learn more about Parenting Plans, Consent Orders, arrangements for your children or child custody, you can read our resources here.

For tailored legal advice, contact our Family Lawyers at LGM Family Law. Our staff have the experience and dedication to help you achieve the best possible outcome available for you and your family. Contact our Family Lawyers in Brisbane City or Northside today, and receive a complimentary 15-minute call. We also offer fixed-rate initial consultations where you can obtain more detailed advice for your particular circumstances.

We can help you navigate this difficult time, and give you the confidence to move forward in life. LGM Family Law is Brisbane-based, with two convenient locations: Brisbane CBD and the Grange.

Contact us on (07) 3506 3651 for more information.

 

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