Did you know that there are 3 different forms of a parenting agreement? What are they you ask – they are:
- Informal Agreement;
- Parenting Plan; or
- Court Orders.
Let’s explore the difference between the 3.
An informal agreement is just that. An agreement that will be made between each of you as parents. This could be a verbal agreement or understanding of what will happen or it might even be in writing. It may change from week to week or it may stay the same for an extended period of time.
There are many separated parents who are able to make an informal agreement like this work.
The next type of parenting agreement is a parenting plan. For an agreement to be a parenting plan it must meet certain criteria. These criteria are:
- It is a written agreement;
- It concerns parenting matters relating to your children;
- It is made between each of you as the children’s parents;
- It is signed by each of you;
- It is dated.
Whilst a parenting plan is not enforceable it must be considered by a Court before any parenting orders are made in the future. And just to complicate things a little more if there is a court order and then you subsequently enter into a parenting plan – the parenting plan will trump the Court Order.
That being said, parenting plans aren’t bad. They provide a lot of flexibility for you and your children. They give you the opportunity to change the arrangements as time goes on to take into account what your children are doing at that point.
Court Orders or Consent Orders
Finally there are Court Orders. Final Court Orders can be made either by consent or by a Judge following a trial.
Final orders are technically going to be in place until your child/ren turn 18 years old. This can be both a good and a bad thing. It provides certainty and security for some and for others it is confining and unforgiving.
As it is a final order, if either of you want to make any changes (which isn’t agreed) then you need to establish that there has been a significant change in circumstances to warrant the matter being reopened by the Court. The mere fact that your children are older and their circumstances have changed is not necessarily going to overcome this.
However, as they are orders they can be enforced by a Court and there are consequences if a party is found to be in breach of the order.
So there you have it – the different types/forms a parenting agreement can make. Remember that every family is different so make sure you choose what is going to be best for your children when you decide which one to go for.
If you need help coming up with a parenting agreement schedule a free appointment today and let me help you.