Parenting Plan vs Parenting Orders – Choosing for Your Family

Parenting Plan vs Parenting Orders - Choosing for Your Family

It may be an emotional experience when spouses decide to part ways. In some cases, they may have an amicable separation. However, regardless of how they feel about each other, their primary concern should be how their future relationship will affect their children. There are two ways to formalise the parenting arrangements of a separating couple. They can use a parenting plan or have the court decide how these arrangements will go. 

It is vital to understand each of these options to work out the best possible arrangements for your family. This blog post will help you understand the differences between each of these options and help you make an educated decision about the parenting arrangements you will eventually choose.

Parenting Plan vs Parenting Orders: Choosing for Your Family

Aside from the two people who will be separating, the other often unseen parties that will be most affected by this will be the children. This is why a clear parenting strategy needs to be set in place before the finalization of the split. Are you on good enough terms to co-parent? Who will take primary parental responsibility for the children? How will joint decisions be made moving forward? It is vital to establish a plan and talk to your children about it before moving to the next step.

What Is a Parenting Plan?

The first option you have is to map out a detailed parenting plan and use it as an official document for your parenting agreements. This document should contain your agreements between where the children will live, who will have primary custody of the children, and how matters will be resolved if parents cannot come to an agreement. 

This document is not enforceable by law, and should it not be followed; there is no way to legally hold the other party responsible for not keeping their end of the agreement. A parenting plan will only work if you and your partner can sit down and agree on the terms of your agreement. This will most likely work if the split is amicable.

What Are Parenting Orders?

On the other hand, if you want a more concrete agreement that can be lawfully enforced, it may be a better option for you to have the Federal Circuit Court of Australia or the Family Court of Australia to assign specific Parenting Orders for parents who are unable to come to an agreement on their own. Since this Order will be given by the Court, it will be fully enforceable and there will be consequences if one of the parties is found to be in contempt of the Orders. They may be fined or even imprisoned if they violate the terms of the Order. Most of the time, Parenting Orders will be more suitable for partners who are not able to communicate well with each other anymore. This will make it easy for them to know how to handle their parenting arrangements moving forward as it will be in black and white.


In many cases, having the right legal counsel will matter when you are making this life-altering decision. The lawyer you choose should have experience working with family law to ensure that they will be able to give you the best advice depending on your case. 
Should you be in need of lawyers that have experience in dealing with family matters, come to the law office of Bickell and Mackenzie. Bickell andMackenzie is a well known family owned law firm within the Redlands area. It specialises in conveyancing (both buying and selling houses, commercial businesses and retirement homes), wills and estates administration and family law. Contact us today!

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