If you and your former partner reach an agreement in mediation on arrangements for your children, this can be recorded as a Parenting Plan. A Parenting Plan is a voluntary agreement that covers the day-to-day responsibilities of each parent, the practical considerations of a child's daily life, as well as how parents will communicate and consult on long-term decisions for the children.
Your Parenting Plan can include mechanisms to update arrangements and resolve disagreements. A Parenting Plan must be in writing, dated and signed by both parents and must be made free from any threat, duress or coercion.
Please note that any changes to the care arrangements for your children can affect child support, income support and family assistance payments. Special rules apply about including child support in your Parenting Plan.
At Sydney Dispute Resolution, we support your right to consult your legal and financial advisers at any point before, during or after the FDR process.
Is a Parenting Plan Legally Binding?
A Parenting Plan is not legally binding. It is different from a Parenting Order, which is made by a Court. However, if the matter comes to Court, the Judge will consider the most recent Parenting Plan when making Parenting Orders about children.
If you are both in agreement that you want to make your Parenting Plan legally binding, you can draft and file Consent Orders without the need for a Court hearing. Once approved, Consent Orders have the same legal effect as if they had been made by a Judge.
We recommend that you seek legal advice before signing and dating a Parenting Plan.
For more information about Parenting Plans, please visit the Family Court website.