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Parenting Plans in Sydney

If both parents agree on the future arrangements for their child or children, they can formalise the agreement by creating a Parenting Plan. Unlike consent orders, Parenting Plans aren’t legally enforceable and can be changed more easily. It’s important to get reliable legal advice on the best option for your specific circumstances, which the team at PCL Lawyers can be trusted to provide. Our team of family lawyers in Sydney can guide and support you every step of the way.

parenting plans lawyers sydney

What is a Parenting Plan?

A Parenting Plan is a written document that outlines the custody and care arrangements for a child. The more detailed and precise the terms are, the easier it will be for both parents to understand and fulfil their responsibilities. While custody orders are legally binding, a Parenting Plan is less formal and it’s possible to modify it at any time as long as both parents agree.

Why do I Need a Parenting Plan?

A Parenting Plan specifies the role and rights of each parent, including where the child will live, when the other parent can spend time with them, and what’s been agreed upon regarding their health and wellbeing, education, sports activities, medical decisions and other aspects. Many parents aren’t aware of how many factors need to be considered and discussed when creating a Parenting Plan, as these activities and decisions are usually made naturally within a household.

Additionally, a Parenting Plan may also cover the time the child or children spend with other family members, including grandparents and other relatives. Parenting Plans when agreed can simply address financial matters between parents. The level of detail included in the plan can vary depending on the agreement reached between the parents.

How Do I Make a Parenting Plan?

The first and most important step in making a Parenting Plan is having a conversation with your ex-partner. This gives both parties the chance to consider their perspective on future arrangements for the wellbeing of their child or children. To make it simpler, you can categorise the factors that need to be addressed into different sections, including:

  • Housing
  • Education
  • Healthcare
  • Financial responsibilities
  • Religion

It’s important to note that a Parenting Plan does not entail the division of assets.

What Happens if We Disagree on a Parenting Plan?

Sometimes, parents can’t agree on arrangements for their child. In these situations, the parents will need to apply to the Court for parenting orders that are legally binding and enforceable.

When Should I Make a Parenting Plan?

Ideally, a Parenting Plan should be drafted and agreed upon at the earliest opportunity to ensure there’s as little disruption to the child’s life as possible.

What Should a Parenting Plan Include?

A Parenting Plan should include as much detail as possible, covering specific details such as:

  • Living situation
  • Education
  • Healthcare and medical decisions
  • Financial obligations
  • Religion
  • Communication

When making these decisions, it’s important to consider the actual circumstances of your child or children and what would be in their best interests.

Who Can Help Me Create a Parenting Plan?

If you require assistance with creating a Parenting Plan, there are family support services within the community that can provide materials or conduct mediation sessions with your former partner.

Some examples include:

Additionally, if you require immediate aid, seeking legal assistance is also an option.

Is it Necessary for a Lawyer to Help with a Parenting Plan?

Due to the number of matters a Parenting Plan may cover it is important to seek legal advice. A family lawyer will provide advice about the contents and consequences as they may become relevant if a court Application is filed later by a parent.

It’s not always necessary to seek legal assistance for the drafting of a Parenting Plan. There are no specific forms or templates that must be followed, but it’s important that the plan is put in writing and signed by each party. All essential issues should not only be addressed, but also thoroughly discussed to ensure the plan will be followed by both parents and won’t disrupt the life of the child.

Are Parenting Plans Legally Enforceable?

Parenting Plans cannot be legally enforced unless you apply to the Court for consent orders, at which part the content of the Parenting Plan will be considered by the court.

A Parenting Plan made after the Court has issued consent orders can override those orders. If you need to modify a parenting order, whether by mutual agreement or through court proceedings, seeking legal advice is recommended, as the specifics of your situation will need to be thoroughly evaluated.

If a disagreement occurs, the Court may take a Parenting Plan into account if proceedings are initiated, as long as the parenting plan meets the following criteria:

  • It’s in writing
  • It’s created between the parents of a child
  • It’s signed and dated by both parents
  • It’s been voluntarily entered into by both parents
  • It contains the agreed-upon parenting arrangements.

Speak to Our Family Lawyers in Sydney Today

Legal issues concerning children can often be emotionally charged and involve varying subjective opinions, particularly in disputes. In such cases, the court will prioritise the child’s best interests when making decisions.

At PCL Lawyers, we believe that two crucial elements in parenting matters are insight and practicality. As knowledgeable family lawyers in Sydney, we possess extensive expertise in the legal process and can guide you through it accordingly.

To learn more about how we can assist you, call us on 1300 907 335 or fill out our contact form to receive a prompt response.

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