Formalising your family arrangements
Many separated and divorced parents do not feel it necessary to have any formal agreement in place for their children and simply come to an informal arrangement between themselves.
However, family circumstances can change, and you may need to call on some legal professional assistance to formalise arrangements by creating a parenting agreement.
There is no legal requirement for a particular arrangement to be in writing, but you may wish to have a written Parenting Plan in place or obtain Consent Orders from the Family Court.
As experienced family law practitioners Blanchfield Nicholls can advise and guide your family’s arrangements.
What is a Parenting Plan?
A Parenting Plan is an agreement in writing between the parents of a child, or children, and can include agreement on:
- with whom a child is to live
- the amount of time a child is to spend with a parent or particular family members
- parental responsibility for a child
- the form consultations will take in order to make decisions about parental responsibility
- the communication a child is to have with another parent or family member
- maintenance of a child (or child support)
- the process for resolving disputes about the terms or operation of the plan.
A Parenting Plan is not usually enforceable by a Court but can be considered in any subsequent Court proceedings.
Parents who believe that they may need the Court’s assistance to assure that parenting arrangements are adhered to may wish to take the step of having their parenting agreement recorded as a ‘Consent Order’.
A Consent Order is made as an administrative application to the Court and does not usually require a Court appearance.
What is a consent order?
Consent Orders are binding and enforceable Court Orders agreed by parents and cover the same issues as a Parenting Plan, but they usually cannot deal with child support or maintenance.
Formalising your Finances through agreements
It is recommended that, if you have reached a property settlement that it be recorded as a Consent Order as it will, in most cases, finalise the financial relationship between you and in most cases prevent a financial claim by your former partner in the future. A Financial Agreement, which is a particular type of agreement made under the Family Law Act, can also be used to document a property settlement and to deal with spouse maintenance.
While child support is usually dealt with under by the Child Support Agency through an assessment, parties can also make their own arrangements with a Binding or Limited Child Support Agreement.
Without formal agreements in place there is the potential, sometimes years later, for aspects of your financial arrangements to be contested.
Blanchfield Nicholls is ready to guide and advise you on your rights (or obligations) under parenting agreements, consent orders and financial agreements.