Why separated parents need a Parenting Plan

Do you need a Parenting Plan?

Parenting Plans

Parenting Plans are a very important tool to help co-parents to collaborate more effectively on the care for their child. They can also be used to change the terms of a Court Order and avoid the risk of a breach of the order.

We understand that if you have just separated or if your post separation parenting has been difficult you may not be able to imagine it improving but if you can get an agreed parenting plan in place it can really help. 

It is well worth the effort to negotiate an agreed Parenting Plan but first what is a Parenting Plan?

What are Parenting Plans?

A Parenting Plan is a written and signed agreement about care of a child or children.  How complex or simple your Parenting Plan is will depend on what your family needs to look after your children with less conflict.

Generally we say the higher the conflict and disagreement between you the more detailed your parenting plan should be.  You need to talk about all the points of conflict and work out a way forward that you can both live with. 

You can make a Parenting Plans between:

  • a mother and father.
  • a same-sex couple who are parents of a child.
  • a parent or parents and grandparents or other relatives of a child has kinship care arrangements
  • if children’s services are involved with your family they may use a parenting plan as part of your re-unification plan.

Who signs the Parenting Plan?

Parenting Plans are a written and dated document that records the way that the child will be cared for and must be signed and dated by the parents or anyone else who has parental responsibility.

What legal status does a Parenting Plan have?

They have a special meaning under the Family Law Act 1975.

Get more information about Post Separation Parenting – Request our free thirty-seven page Post Separation Parenting Guide. Click Here to ask your electronic copy.

Post Separation Parenting Guide

What should we include in our Parenting Plan?

Your Parenting Plan will deal with matters such as:

  • the person your child will live with
  • the time your child spends with other people including their other parent
  • whether the parents retain joint parental responsibility or if sole parental responsibility is given to one of the parents
  • how the people responsible for the care of a child will consult with each other about decisions to be made about the child’s care, education, health and other major decisions
  • the communication the child will have with other people such as parents when they are not with them
  • how the child will be supported financially (maintenance)
  • the process to be used for resolving disputes about the terms or operation of the parenting plan
  • how the plan will be changed as the child grows and their needs change or the needs of any of the people named in the plan change
  • any other aspect of the child’s care, welfare and development or relating to the responsibilities of the carers for the child

Why do we need a Parenting Plan?

Your Parenting Plan makes it very clear how to share care for your child after you separate from their other Parent.  It helps to prevent conflict and can be adjusted as your needs or the needs of your child change.

What is the process to get a Parenting Plan?

You can discuss and agree yourselves but most people find that the help of a Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner makes the process go much smoother. 

Interact Online can provide you with a team of FDR Practitioners to help. 

If it is safe to do so we will facilitate a joint meeting to discuss and negotiate a new agreement or we can work with you both separately using our Facilitated Negotiation process.

Download our free Parenting Plan Worksheet 

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Why separa…

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