Parenting Plans are written agreements detailing the responsibilities of each parent after separation with respect to the care of the children. A Parenting Plan would generally include where the children will live, who will care for them and for what periods of time. Once these agreements are signed and dated by each party they then become a Parenting Plan.
This following information takes a look on family dispute resolution, specifically from a child focused perspective and examines how an FDRP can develop with parents progressively aligned parenting plans.
The current Family Law Act 1975 illustrates a shift towards a ‘child focused’ approach of FDR. Whilst this can be interpreted in a number of ways, the hallmarks are that all decisions, determinations and processes are to be made in the best interests of the children. This is the overarching principle in the Family Law Act (‘Act) in which Part VII of the Act specifically deals. Parenting Plans must be developed with the best interest of the children principles.
CHILD FOCUSED APPROACH
As part of a child focused approach, we as FDRP’s will guide parents in developing parenting plans that are child-focused, specifically based on the child’s needs. Parenting plans are used in Australia, to set out the intentions of separating or divorcing parents in respect of how the care of the children should be undertaken.
Under the Family Law Act parents are encouraged to develop parenting plans rather than entering court processes. Moreover, the Act specifically encourages parents to:
- come to an agreement about matters concerning the child;
- take responsibility for parenting arrangements for resolving parental conflict;
- use the legal system as a last resort; and
- minimise the possibility of present and future conflict by using or reaching an agreement.
CONTENT OF A PARENTING PLAN
Whilst each child’s circumstances are different, some factors we consider (note that this is an exhaustive list) when working with parents to resolve their issues include:
- Who has Parental Responsibility for the child?
- What are the living arrangements for the child?
- How will the child spend time with the parents?
- Should any person be prevented from being in contact with the child?
- What happens on special occasions (birthdays, Xmas and so on)?
- How are changeovers conducted?
- How and when can the other parent communicate with the child?
- How, when and why will the parents communicate with one another?
- How are holidays (interstate and overseas) arranged by a parent?
- How are passports arranged?
- What happens when there is a medical appointment?
- What happens where the parents are concerned about the health of the other?
- What happens if one parent wants to relocate?
- Does the drinking habits of the other parent need to be monitored?
- Does there need to be a provision to dealing with illicit drug use?
- Do the children need immediate or future counselling?
- Is a family assessment report needed and how should it be conducted?
- Should a location or police recovery order be included?
- Does the Parenting Plan need to be supervised by a qualified 3rd Party?
- What things need to be communicated by each parent?
- What things should not be discussed with the child?
- How do the parents deal with future disputes?
- How are the day to day care of the child communicated between the parents?
- How do the parents discuss and make major decisions for the child.
What are the Fees?
The cost of Parenting Plans are very reasonable. Our fees are the most competitive in the industry and can be viewed here. If you still have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact us.
Sounds great, how do I get started?
We have made the process simple.
- Book an obligation free initial consult with one of our FDRPs
- Complete your formal consultation with our Family Mediator (by phone)
- We will invite the other party to complete their Intake & Assessment
- If not eligible you will be offered a s.60 certificate and we will send you an online link.
- If eligible both parties will be sent a link to secure their mediation date.