A Parenting Plan is a written document signed and dated (without threat, duress or coercion) by both parents that sets out an arrangement for their children. A Parenting Plan is not legally binding however it may have legal consequences. If you are considering entering into a Parenting Plan, you should obtain independent legal advice.
The Family Law Act 1975 sets out that if it is in the best interests of the child, and its reasonably practicable, parents could consider including arrangements in their parenting plan such as:
- The child/ren spending equal time with each parent
- The child/ren spending substantial or significant time with each parent. Section 63DA(3) provides this to mean that the Parenting Plan includes:
- Time with each parent of weekends and holidays
- Time with each parent that is not on weekends and holidays
- Time that allows each parent to be part of the child/ren’s daily routine and
- Time that allows each parent to be involved in occasions and events that are of particular significance to the child and parents.
A Parenting Plan, according to Section 63C(2) may include:
- who the child lives with
- the time the children spends with other people.
- The allocation of parental responsibility
- If Parental responsibility is to be shared, the methods of communication between those people.
- The communication a child is to have with another person/s.
- Maintenance of a child.
- The process of resolving Parental disputes over the Parenting Plan
- The process to be used for changing the plan to take account of changing needs or circumstances
- Any aspect of the care, welfare or development of the child or any other aspect of parental responsibility for a child.