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When a relationship ends, the separating parties have two viable options when it comes to parenting arrangements for the child/children. These are either a Parenting Plan or a Parenting Order (also known as Consent Orders). In order to choose the best option, it is important to understand the difference between the two.

What is a Parenting Plan?

A Parenting Plan is a written agreement, dated and signed by both parties, that outlines parenting arrangements for the child/children. It is an informal agreement that parents usually create between themselves or with the assistance of a mediator.

A parenting plan focuses on issues such as:

  • Where the child/children will live.
  • Who they will spend time with on special occasions, such as birthdays and holidays.
  • What will be the primary mode of communication between both parties (emails, phone or in person).
  • The procedure and steps to be taken to resolve any future disputes that may arise.
  • The procedures and steps to be taken concerning the care, welfare and development of the child/children.

While a parenting plan is not legally binding, it should be noted that, should the matter go to court at some point in the future, the court will consider the terms of the Parenting Plan when considering Parenting Orders. Since it is not a legal agreement, seeking legal advice before entering a parenting plan is not mandatory, but it is better to do so.

 What is a Parenting Order?

Unlike Parenting Plans, Parenting Orders are legally enforceable. They deal with pretty much the same issues as parenting plans (where the children will live, who they will spend time with and when). The only major difference being that the language used in a Parenting Order tends to be a lot more formal than that of a Parenting Plan, and that it is a legally binding agreement.

When both parties are agreeable and apply to the court for a legally binding parenting arrangement, it is termed as a Consent Order. If the parties fail to reach an agreement, then one of the parties can apply to the court for orders. When considering whether a Parenting Order is right for you and your situation, you need sound legal advice to guide you.

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Give Platinum Lawyers a call at (02) 8084 2764 or send us an email at reception@platinumlawyers.com.au to get expert legal advice on your situation and decide on the right course of action for you.

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