Co-parents who wish to amicably create workable parenting orders often wonder exactly what should be included when drafting the orders, and how to go about formalising them. A good resource is the Government’s official Parenting Orders handbook, which is a comprehensive guide to all aspects of parenting orders.
The handbook covers everything you need to know about parenting orders, including how they differ from parenting plans, and includes many sample orders relating to different kinds of situations, which are likely to be very helpful.
There’s information on how to obtain parenting orders by consent, what topics the orders can cover, how detailed you should make the orders, how to build in flexibility for changing circumstances, how to change them when necessary, how they are enforced by courts and what happens if they are contravened.
Parenting orders vary in the specific amount of detail they contain, but may cover issues including: parental responsibility, living arrangements, special occasions, changeovers, taking care of the child (including concerns about the other parent’s behaviour such as drug use), what should happen if a parent is unexpectedly unable to care for the child, communication with the child, aspects of the child’s relationship with others (eg. if a child is not to be left alone with a particular person), parents’ behaviour with the child (eg. non-denigration orders), interstate and international travel, medical care, different arrangements for different children, education and extra-curricular activities, communicating about the child; and more. They can be as detailed or as simple as needed.
As well as helping you understand the key legal principles involved and explaining concepts like parental responsibility, the guidebook describes the kind of language that is best used, the various kinds of orders that can be made (eg “live with” orders, “time with” orders, “communication orders” and so on), as well as other related orders like injunctions (orders that usually restrain people from certain behaviours), location orders and recovery orders. It also explains important subjects such as the Hague Child Abduction Convention.
It’s a practical resource that also provides useful information on the various services and organisations that exist to assist parents to work out arrangements for their kids post-separation, and we encourage you to have a read.
You can download the Parenting Orders handbook here.
At Alliance, some of the detail we’ve found clients like to cover in their parenting orders includes:
- whether both parents can have direct access to the child’s educational records or one parent will be responsible for telling the other of the child’s grades and school activities/information (it’s important never to make this the duty of the child);
- whether both parents are listed with the school as persons to contact in the event of any emergencies involving the child;
- whether both parents have access to the child’s medical records;
- whether a provision can be inserted that neither party will become intoxicated while in the child’s presence;
- whether parents will communicate about issues concerning the children through a communication book or dedicated email account;
- a provision that neither parent is to use physical discipline on the kids (or allow anyone else to do so);
- a provision along the lines that neither parent will question the children about the other parent’s household, their family or friends;
- a “right of first refusal” provision.
Ultimately, what is included in your parenting orders all depends on your unique situation. If you are unsure what you would like to include in parenting consent orders, or need help preparing an application for orders in court, then please contact Canberra family lawyer Cristina Huesch or one of our other experienced solicitors here at Alliance Family Law on (02) 6223 2400.
Please note our blogs are not legal advice. For information on how to obtain the correct legal advice, please contact Alliance Family Law.