Documenting Parenting Agreement: Parenting Plan or Consent Orders

Should you choose a Parenting Plan or Consent Order to document your Parenting Agreement 

You will only be able to make either a Parenting Plan or a Parenting Court Order if you, either already have, or think you will be able to, reach agreement on the parenting arrangements for the child or children.

If you have decided to document your Parenting Arrangements in either a Parenting Plan or a Consent Order, then you will need to weight up the benefits and advantages as well as any risks or disadvantages associated with each of a Parenting Plan and a Parenting Consent Order.


Some things to know about Parenting Plans are:

  • they can only be made if both parties (both parents or the parent and legal guardian) are in agreement.
  • there is no requirement for registration or for independent legal advice.
  • they are only evidence of what the parents agreed was in the best interests of a child at the time they signed the Parenting Plan.
  • a Parenting Plan might be used to defend to a contravention (breach of an Order) application.
  • they are not enforceable unless they amend a previous Court Order.
  • a Parenting Plan may override a previous Court Order.
  • There is no ‘cooling off’ period for a Parenting Plan.



Some benefits and advantages of a Parenting Consent Order include:

  • Parenting Consent Orders have to be made by a Court. The Court will only make the Consent Orders you have agreed on, if the Court thinks those Orders are in the best interests of the Child or Children.
  • A Parenting Consent Order is made by the agreement of both parties.
  • A Parenting Consent Order has exactly the same force and effect as a Parenting Order made by the Court and forced on the parties without the consent of one or both of them.
  • Consequences can follow if a Consent Order is breached.
  • Parenting Consent Orders are usually easier to enforce.
  • If you need the Federal Police to assist they will usually need to see a Court Order.
  • You do not have to use lawyers to do Parenting Consent Orders, you can do it yourself.
  • You can use Parenting Consent Orders to document your parenting and property settlement agreement in the same document.

More information on Documenting a Parenting Agreement

We also have the following Fact Sheets providing more legal information about documenting your Parenting Agreement:


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