Family LawEnforcing Parenting Plans

August 4, 2020
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A common question asked by parents afer divorce is what is a parenting plan? A parenting plan is an agreement that parents into to articulate whom will be responsible for the day-to-day issues as well as the long terms decisions for their children. It is typically done when the relationship has irretrievably broken down.

The issues often addressed in parenting plans are:

  • where the child lives;
  • what time they spend with each parent;
  • school arrangements;
  • travel;
  • how holidays will work; and
  • parental Responsibility.

Parenting Plans need to be in writing and signed by all parties to the agreement (except the children!).

Is it enforceable?

Parenting Plans are not legally binding, and therefore they are not an enforceable agreement. What this means is that if one parent were to breach a term, then other parent could not seek that the courts enforce that term or impose a penalty on the breeching parent.

Can you make it enforceable?

Court orders (also known as parenting orders) are enforceable. Where you have an order of the court regarding children you can apply to the court itself to enforce the terms of the order.

If you have a parenting plan, you can make an application to the court for it to be turned in parenting orders. This process turns your parenting plan into enforceable parenting orders.

It is important to know that most parenting plans do not have enough detail to be turned into parenting orders without some form of further discussion and agreement.

The courts major consideration when consenting to parenting orders is always the best interests of the child. At a glance, some parenting plans may not appear to be in the best interests of the child without detailed explanations.

It is important that any application made to the court is made in such a way to ensure that the court understands the terms of the orders and why they are in the child’s best interests to avoid creating unnecessary delays.