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  • Writer's pictureTemara Willis

What is a Parenting Plan?

Updated: Dec 30, 2023

A mother and son sharing a moment, illustrating the essence of a parenting plan discussed in the blog post.

Welcome to the Adelaide Family Mediation blog. I'm Temara Willis, a dedicated family mediator, and I want to talk about parenting plans.

A parenting plan is a vital document that formalises agreements between parents, ensuring the best care for their child or children, especially when co-parenting between two households. This written agreement outlines essential parenting matters, including care arrangements and other critical details.


When Should You Develop a Parenting Plan?


Parenting plans can be established at various stages, including during separation or even years into co-parenting. Regardless of when it's created, a well-thought-out parenting plan effectively helps navigate the complexities of shared parenting responsibilities.


Key Considerations for Developing a Parenting Agreement


  1. Child's Age - The child's age plays a crucial role in determining suitable care arrangements and decision-making processes.

  2. Primary Caregiver - Consider who is best suited to provide daily care, considering each parent's circumstances and availability.

  3. Special Needs - Address any specific needs the child may have, such as medical, educational, or other requirements.

  4. Education - Determine the child's educational needs and how they will be met within the parenting plan.

  5. Practical Matters - Practical considerations like logistics and transportation should be defined clearly.

  6. Cultural Considerations: -Ensure the parenting plan respects and addresses the child's cultural needs.

  7. Safety - Keeping the child safe and protected is paramount. Outline safety measures and protocols.

  8. Expenses - Specify how child-related expenses will be managed and divided between parents.

  9. Routines - Establish consistent routines between the two households to provide stability for the child.

  10. Communication - Outline communication expectations both with the child and between parents to ensure ongoing cooperation.


Turning Your Parenting Plan into a Consent Order


If both parents reach an agreement through mediation or negotiation, there is no need to go to court. However, if you wish to formalise the agreement and make it legally binding, you can turn your parenting plan into a consent order. This process involves seeking approval from the Court to solidify the agreement into a legally enforceable order. The Court evaluates whether the proposed parenting orders align with the best interests of the children.


You can initiate this process by completing a DIY Application for consent orders, giving you the opportunity to present your agreement to the Court for approval.


Understanding Consent Orders


A Consent Order is a formal approval from the Court for the agreement reached between parents, covering various aspects, including parenting and financial arrangements. It holds the same legal weight as a court order, wherein a judge makes the decisions.


When Court Orders Are Necessary


In cases where parents cannot reach an agreement, the Court may need to intervene and make decisions on their behalf. This situation can be costly, time-consuming, and emotionally challenging for all parties involved. Court orders should be considered a last resort, with alternative dispute resolution methods exhausted.


Adelaide Family Mediation is here to guide and support you in creating a comprehensive parenting plan that aligns with your child's best interests. Avoiding the stress and costs of going to Family Court, our mediation services offer a constructive way to reach agreements that benefit everyone involved.


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