Family Law Series: What is a Parenting Plan?

A Parenting Plan is an informal written agreement between the parents of a child, setting out the parenting arrangements. Parenting Plans are designed to be a less formal process than court to document a parenting agreement.

For a Parenting Plan to be considered effective, it must be signed and dated by the parents of the child. This can include grandparents, step-parents or other legal guardians.

If a Parenting Plan details information on child support, a copy should be provided to the Department of Human Services (DHS). This can assist with a determination of how much child support is payable where it details the amount of time spent with each parent. If the plan specifies amounts payable for child support, this cannot be enforced by DHS unless a separate child support agreement is in place and has been accepted by them.

Parenting Plans are not legally enforceable as they cannot be registered with the court. For an agreement to be enforceable, proper Parenting Orders are required to be made with the court. You should seek legal advice if you are unsure whether you require Parenting Orders.