Parenting Arrangements

Specialising in all aspects of parenting law


Enabling happier children

Children are often the collateral damage of a relationship breakdown. Finalising a parenting plan for the future parenting of your children with your former spouse or partner can provide your children with increased stability, and provide you with an enormous amount of comfort after the turbulence of a separation. Without the certainty of a formalised agreement regarding parenting arrangements, children often find themselves used as bargaining chips in the aftermath.

Putting formal arrangements in place limits the ability for parents to do this and can put parents on notice as to the appropriate behaviour expected of them to ensure the impact on the children is minimised. A formalised and well-structured parenting agreement, particularly consent orders (parenting orders), can make a significant difference to the emotional, psychological and physical well-being of your children, and may be the most important gift you ever give them.

Parenting Plan or Parenting Orders
What’s the difference?

A parenting plan is not legally enforceable. It is a written agreement between you and your former spouse or partner regarding the parenting of your children.

A parenting order is a legally enforceable written agreement between you and your former spouse or partner regarding the parenting of your children. Parenting orders are approved by the court and must be complied with by the parties to the agreement. Strict penalties may apply for contravening parenting orders.

Parenting orders are filed in court as consent orders and often accompany other orders within the same document, such as property orders and spousal maintenance orders.

Parenting Plan Or Parenting Orders
What’s better?

There is no simple answer to that question.

Although an amicable split and agreed philosophies on parenting may lead to a parenting plan being sufficient, people and attitudes change over time, particularly when new partners come into children’s lives. In these situations, parents often find themselves with obstacles that impact their children which could have been avoided had parenting orders been made. 

Parenting orders are preferable if there are any doubts as to the likelihood of both parents complying with the plan, and in situations where there is or has been any form of domestic violence or conflict, whether that involved the children or not.

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What’s included in a parenting plan or parenting order?

Generally speaking, a parenting plan and a parenting order should cover the same topics in relation to the care of the children. Because of the more formal nature of parenting orders, they may include additional matters related to the required behaviour and conduct of the parents whilst the children are in their care.


Special consideration

Specific circumstances may call for unique inclusions, for example, in relation to children's education, extracurricular activities, restrictions on international travel, or limitations on alcohol consumption when responsible for a child's care.

Parenting Agreements

Areas we recommend you address in any parenting agreement include:

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