Why Should I Get a Parenting Plan?

By Carlos Turini – Accredited Family Law SpecialistCarlos Turini - Accredited Family Law Specialist

Parents involved in a family law dispute about a child in Australia are required to attempt to resolve the dispute via counselling /mediation. This is a compulsory requirement. Parties are encouraged to enter into an agreement in writing about the future care of their children, a “parenting plan”.

As part of major reforms to the Family Law Act in 2006, a new Division 4[1] was added to Part VII of the Act entitled “Parenting Plans”. A very large stake was placed in “parenting plans” to help implement the intended reforms. An obligation was imposed by law on “advisers” to inform their clients about parenting plans and about where they may get further assistance to negotiate a parenting plan. [2]

The Objectives of Parenting Plans (Division 4 of the Family Law Act)

The objectives of the plans are :

“The parents of a child are encouraged:

  1. to agree about matters concerning the child;
  2. to take responsibility for their parenting arrangements and for resolving parental conflict;
  3. to use the legal system as a last resort rather than a first resort;
  4. to minimise the possibility of present and future conflict by using or reaching an agreement; and
  5. in reaching their agreement, to regard the best interests of the child as the paramount consideration.” [3]

95% of Family Law matters settle out of court, however the statistics include some matters which settle at the end of the journey, right at the steps of the Court, when all the emotional energy and legal costs involved in the litigation have been spent.

Negotiating a sound and sustainable parenting plan at the outset of your legal journey may help you avoid the lengthy, acrimonious and expensive, process of commencing court proceedings and driving the dispute all the way to a final hearing.

For more information, contact Carlos Turini

p: +61 2 6206 1300 | e: cturini@elringtons.com.au

[1] Family Law Amendment Act 2006

[2] Section 63DA of the Act

[3] Section 63B of the Act

[4] Section 63C(2) of the Act

[5] See Article 95% of Family Law Matters settle out of Court.

[6] Section 63C(1) of the Act

[7] See Article 95% of Family Law Matters settle out of Court.

[8] Children’s responses to separation and parental conflict