Parenting orders and parenting plans are used by separated parents to regulate their children’s time with each parent.
Both are documents that set out when, where and how, parents spend time and communicate with their children, including during school terms, school holidays and special days like birthdays, Christmas, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.
The advantage (or disadvantage as the case may be) of a parenting plan is that, unlike a parenting order, it cannot be enforced by a court.
This means that if one parent “breaks” the terms of the parenting plan, such as by not returning the children to the other parent when the plan says they are supposed, they cannot be “penalised” by a court.
If parents are parties to parenting orders, and one of them “breaks” the terms of the orders, such as described above, then the court can “penalise” the parent who “breaks” the order, unless that parent satisfies the court that they had “reasonable excuse” to do so.
Most separated parents prefer the certainty and security of parenting orders. Some parents manage to mutually treat these orders as their “fall back position” if they can’t reach agreement from time to time about issues concerning the children. Other parents choose, out of necessity (such as when there is little if any trust or goodwill between the parents)or otherwise, to follow the terms of parenting orders strictly.
At Freedom Law, we offer a free initial consultation for all new clients to discuss whether a parenting order or a parenting plan is best for their situation.