Going through separation is an incredibly stressful time filled with great uncertainty.
Arguably the most stressful element of this process is formalising parenting arrangements.
As an experienced family lawyer, I regularly represent clients in the Family Court and the
Federal Circuit Court on a range of parenting matters.
In circumstances where two parties agree on parenting arrangements, these can be
formalised by either a Parenting Plan or Consent Orders. Parenting Plans are a flexible
document and can be drafted to address a range of parenting issues such as who the
child/children live with, the allocation of parental responsibility, telephone/FaceTime
communication, travel arrangements, and matters involving education, health and religion.
While Parenting Plans are not legally binding and are not filed with the Court, they are a
persuasive document if brought before the Court as they signpost the parenting
arrangements previously agreed between the parties.
Similarly, Consent Orders can also be drafted. This document is filed with the Family Court
of Australia and is legally binding. Should a party breach the parenting orders, the Court has
a wide range of penalties that it can impose upon the offending party from ordering make
up time in compensation for the spend time lost, ordering the offending party to attend an
educational program or counselling, imposing a fine or an order to pay the other side’s legal
costs, or even imposing a term of imprisonment in the most serious breaches.
In circumstances where the parties cannot agree on parenting arrangements, a party must
attend or attempt mediation prior to filing documents with the Court. A section 60 I
certificate will be issued allowing a party to subsequently file documents seeking parenting
orders. It should also be noted that grandparents are also eligible to file an application to
the Court seeking parenting orders.
Should you have any concerns over parenting matters, contact me for no-obligation