Examples of parenting plans, consent orders and parenting orders are available here for your information.
- The samples / templates may be useful if you are a separated parent and involved in discussions, formal mediation or Family Court of Australia proceedings over the care of your child or children.
- The examples cover the substantive parts of orders. See the Family Court's consent orders kit (here) to see preliminary parts (names, etc).
In Australia, the care arrangements for a child with separated parents may be documented in:
- a parenting plan (a signed agreement between parents, which is not legally binding but would likely be influential in any future court proceedings)
- consent orders (legally binding Family Court orders which are agreed in advance by the parents)
- parenting orders (interim or final orders made by the Family Court after submissions and hearings).
Essential inclusions in any of the documents are (i) the times a child will spend with each party (including regular time and holidays) – see visitation calendars; and (ii) who will be responsible for major long-term decisions about the child (including the possibility of equal, shared responsibility).
Parenting Plan Example (Equal Parenting)
Notes on the parenting plan sample
1 - "Equal, shared parental responsibility" means the parents agree to consult and decide together on major long-term issues such as which school the child will attend (see ag.gov.au).
2 - The parents are agreeing to an equal-time care arrangement (7 nights care each per fortnight).
3 - The sample parenting plan includes an allowance for a week's holiday with each parent between school terms and longer holidays over the summer break.
4 - Each parent agrees to drop off the child to the other parent at changeovers. This is the most empowering and least stressful arrangement for children because they go to their parent's place when ready instead of waiting to be collected.
Consent Orders Example (Mixed Responsibilities)
Notes on the consent orders sample
1 - The parents agree that Dad will make major education decisions but both parents will decide on any other major issues which arise.
2 - Care will be split 9:5 (9 nights with Mum and 5 nights with Dad each fortnight).
3 - The example consent orders provide for the children to have a week with each parent between school terms.
4 - For the "special days" of Mothers Day and Fathers Day, the children will spend the full day with Mum or Dad respectively.
5 - For Christmas, the children see both parents (with alternating time arrangements each year).
Parenting Orders Example (Mother Decides)
Notes on the parenting orders sample
1 - The Family Court has assigned full decision-making powers to Mum with respect to major long-term decisions.
2 - Dad can still make his own decisions concerning how he cares for the children on a daily basis.
3 - The court has given Dad only limited time with the children, consisting of 3 visits (including 1 overnight stay) per fortnight.
4 - Visitation times are graduated (increasing time with Dad as the children get older). After 2 years, the parenting orders example includes 2 overnight stays per fortnight.
5 - The draft orders require the parent with the children to transport them to the other parent at changeovers.
6 - Outside of normal care arrangements, Mum can keep the children for 4 weeks of holidays over the year.
7 - Dad can also have the children for extra blocks of time occasionally.
8 - The court has included an order that the parents not criticise each other in front of the children, presumably because it was an issue raised in court proceedings. Detailed behavioural orders can be made on many matters, including communication protocols, substance abuse, suitable activities for the children, and who can look after them.