Parenting Plans

A Parenting Plan is a written agreement that details arrangements for children if parents have separated. This agreement may be developed through the parties’ own negotiations or after successful Family Dispute Resolution (FDR).

A Parenting Plan can include anything that parents need to agree about in relation to their child, and can cover issues such as:

  • where the child will live;
  • what time a child will spend with the other parent;
  • how the child will communicate with each parent and other persons such as grandparents;
  • how parental responsibility is allocated between the parents;
  • how any future disputes will be resolved.

They can be as specific or general as the parents like but should reflect the arrangements that the parents have made either through their own negotiations or through family dispute resolution.

A Parenting Plan must be in writing, and must be dated and signed by both parents. A Parenting Plan can be changed at any time by a new Parenting Plan, as long as it is agreed to by both parents.

Unlike a Parenting Order, a Parenting Plan is not legally binding. This means that if one party breaches the Parenting Plan, the other party cannot initiate contravention or enforcement proceedings in court.

If your Parenting Plan needs to be changed and you cannot reach an agreement, you will then need to make an application in court for a parenting order. The court will consider the most recent Parenting Plan when deciding what order to make. The Court may make an order that reflects the most recent Parenting Plan, if it is in the best interests of the child.

You should get legal advice before signing a parenting plan. You can contact Legal Aid Tasmania on 1300 366 611 for legal advice and referrals.