Parenting arrangements: What are they and what are the alternatives?

Parents are responsible for their children until they reach the age of 18 years. This responsibility does not change even when there is a change in the status of the parents’ relationship (like a separation or remarriage).

Parental responsibility refers to the powers, authority and responsibility parents have towards their children. If the parents are unable to arrive at a parenting arrangement, the court will issue parenting orders which are legally binding.

But anytime during the court process, parents can arrive at a parenting arrangement. The parenting agreement can be approved by the court. So what is a parenting order?

Parenting orders deal with issues such as

  • Who the child will live with.
  • How much time is a parent or the child’s grandparents allowed with the child.
  • Allocate parenting responsibilities.
  • How the child will communicate with a parent that they are not living with.
  • Any other aspect of welfare, development or care concerning the child.

Not surprisingly, parenting agreements or parenting plans deals with these same issues.

 What is a parenting agreement?

You can prevent the court from issuing orders by preparing a parenting plan in conjunction with your former partner. A parenting plan is a written agreement and it sets out the parenting arrangements for a child.

The idea is, parents know best what is good for their child. So at least for the sake of their child, they must put their differences aside and come to an amicable settlement.

After you prepare a parenting arrangement, you don’t need to go to court for a parenting order. You can also change the parenting order if your former partner agrees, unless the court has forbidden it.

A parenting plan is not legally enforceable. On the opposite end, a parenting order is legally enforceable. Read more about parenting plans in the Family Law Act. You can also call us for help and we will be happy to oblige.

What is a consent order?

A consent order is also a written agreement. Along with parenting arrangements, a consent order covers financial arrangements like maintenance and property. A consent order can be procured by anyone concerned with the welfare, development and care of a child.

Consent orders are also legally enforceable. The only requirement is that court should be satisfied that the consent order is in the best interest of the child.

Note that the process is quite intricate and confusing. There is a thin line between a parenting order, parenting arrangement and consent order. If you want to avoid this legal largesse, please contact Icon Legal.