What Exactly Is A Parenting Strategy?
A Parenting Plan is a written agreement, that outlines child custody and visitation arrangements. But is not formally sanctioned by the Court. Because the parties do not have to make a formal application to the Court. It is a more informal manner of having arrangements in place for your children than Consent Orders.
It is judged sufficient if the Parenting Plan clearly states each parent’s (or any other person’s) rights, and obligations and is signed and dated by each parent (or any other person involved).
However, unlike Consent Orders, if one party violates a Parenting Plan. the other party is not entitled to file a breach application with the Court. Parenting Plan clauses are not legally binding.
What does a consent order entail?
A Consent Order is a written agreement. that is granted by the Family Court when an application is filed, and it might include parental arrangements for children (as well as arrangements with respect to property settlement and spousal maintenance).
Consent Orders obtained through the Court by filing an Application for Consent Orders have the same legal force as those obtained through a Magistrate or Judge following a Court hearing. The Court must be satisfied that the orders requested are in the best interests of the child in order for them to be authorized.
If either parent (or any other person named as a party to the Consent Orders, such as grandparents) fails to follow the conditions of the consent order family law, the other party may file a Contravention Application, and the defaulting party may be sanctioned by the Court.
Please check our page Consent Orders: Everything You Need to Know for more details.
Parenting Plans and Consent Orders: What’s the Difference?
The following are the fundamental differences between Consent Orders and a Parenting Plan:
Is it necessary for the Court to approve it?
No. 1 Parenting Plan
Yes, there is a consent order.
Is there a cost involved?
Parenting Plan – No, unless the Parenting Plan is drafted by a mediator or lawyer.
If Consent Orders are acquired through Court proceedings, a $165 cost is owed to the Family Court unless you are entitled for a fee exemption or lawyer fees.
Is it enforceable in court?
No, unless there is an existing Court-ordered Parenting Plan, in which case any subsequent Parenting Plan can vary or supersede previous Orders.)
Yes, there is a consent order.
Can a Consent Order be amended after it has been issued?
What happens if there is already a Consent Order in place for parenting arrangements. But the parties’ circumstances change a few years later. Rendering the Consent Orders ‘unworkable’ or ‘unrealistic’?
Option 1: File an application to modify an existing Consent Order or to create new Consent Orders.
It is feasible to alter a consent order if the parties are able to discuss and achieve an agreement to change the existing Consent Orders to make them workable and appropriate to the new circumstances.
Option 2: Make a separate Parenting Plan.
It is possible to have a new agreement written in a Parenting Plan. As an alternative to initiating an Application for Consent Orders (Option 1 above).
Any subsequent Parenting Plan entered by the parties trumps prior Consent Orders under Section 64D of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth). (unless there is a provision in the Consent Orders stating that the Orders or a specific Order may only be varied by a further Order of the Court, not a Parenting Plan).
Following the issuance of Consent Orders, there are no defined procedures for how parties should formalize any subsequent parenting arrangement. In the end, the decision will be based on the facts of each case, and the parties’ ability to communicate effectively with one another. And whether there are any concerns that may arise in the near future (for example, new partners, relocation, travel, and so on) that could affect the agreement.
Before making any decisions, it is critical to understand the difference between Consent Orders and a Parenting Plan. We strongly advise seeking legal counsel before signing any subsequent Parenting Plan. As it has the potential to change or supersede previous Orders.
Call Family Lawyers Perth on (08) 62451262. For an initial consultation about Consent Orders or a Parenting Plan, or any other Family Law issue.