What happens if my Parenting Plan is Breached?
What happens if my Parenting Plan is breached?
A Parenting Plan is a written agreement which covers parenting arrangements for children but is not formally approved by the Court. It is a more informal way of having arrangements in place for your children than Consent Orders, as the parties do not have to make a formal application to the Court.
As long as the Parenting Plan clearly sets out the rights and obligations of each parent (or any other person) and is signed and dated by each parent or any other person involved, it is deemed sufficient.
A Consent Order is a written agreement that is approved by the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia through an application made to the Court, which can cover parenting arrangements for children (as well as arrangements with respect to property settlement and spousal maintenance).
Consent Orders made through the Court by lodging an Application for Consent Orders have the same legal effect as if they had been made by a Judge after a Court hearing. In having such Consent Orders approved, the Court must be satisfied that the orders sought are in the best interests of the child. In the process of making the Orders, the Court may have regard to the Parenting Plan.
If either parent (or any other person included as a party to the Consent Orders, such as grandparents) does not comply with the terms of a Consent Order, the other party is entitled to make a Contravention Application with respect to the breach, and the defaulting party may be sanctioned by the Court.
However, if either party acts contrary to a Parenting Plan, then unlike Consent Orders, the other party is not entitled to make an application to the Court for a breach. The terms of Parenting Plans are not enforceable. An Initiating Application will need to be filed to create the matter and bring it before the Court.
To find out more about Consent Orders or a Parenting Plan, or any other Family Law issue, call our team on (03) 9793 7888 for an initial consultation.