Parenting plans and consent orders
How do I make a parenting plan?
To make a parenting plan, it must be:
- made between the parents of the child
- in writing
- signed by both parents, and
- freely agreed to by both parents (without threat, pressure or force).
Parents can change an existing parenting plan by simply making a new plan.
What can be included in a parenting plan?
Parents can include anything they wish to in their parenting plan about arrangements for their child and how they will raise their child.
Some examples of what can be covered in a parenting plan include:
- who their child will live with and how much time they will spend with both of their parents
- the time their child will spend with other important people in their life, such as grandparents
- how parents will share parental responsibility (how they will make decisions such as where their child will go to school)
- how special occasions such as birthdays and important religious/cultural celebrations will be shared, and
- how they will try to work out any disagreements they may have in the future.
What happens if a parent is not following a parenting plan?
As a parenting plan is not legally enforceable, if a parent is not following the plan it cannot be enforced by the Family Court. However, if a case is started in the Family Court, the court will take the parenting plan into consideration when deciding what orders to make.
Can parenting plans change court orders about a child?
A parenting plan can be used to change court orders about a child. If the Family Court has made orders about a child, parents can make a new parenting plan with different arrangements (unless the court orders say that they are not allowed to do this). The parenting plan would change the parts of the court orders that deal with the same issues. The rest of the court orders would still be in place and must be followed.
If you are thinking about using a parenting plan to change court orders about your child, it is recommended you get legal advice.
What if we want consent orders?
If you and the other parent want a legally enforceable agreement, you can make an application to the Family Court for consent orders. If the agreement you have made with the other parent is approved by the court it is legally enforceable.
You can apply to the Family Court for consent orders by completing and lodging the following documents:
- Application – Consent Orders (Form 11), and
- Draft consent orders (the agreement you have reached).
You can find step-by-step practical information about how to register for the eCourts Portal of WA and lodge your Family Court of WA documents in the infosheet, Family Court of WA: Signing and filing documents.
What happens if a parent is not following consent orders?
As consent orders are legally enforceable, if a parent is not following the consent orders, the other parent may make a contravention application to the Family Court or an application to enforce the orders.
Reviewed: 26 September 2023