Even after the breakdown of your relationship, your biggest priority as parents should always be ensuring that you do whatever benefits your children. It is therefore crucial that you get in touch with family lawyers to help you understand your options regarding parenting plans and what each means.

Informal Arrangements

You and your ex-spouse can come to a mutual decision on matters parenting and agree on the terms of your parenting arrangements. These informal out-of-court arrangements are what family law experts refer to as parenting plans. These plans are not legally enforceable, but you can always change that when you make an application to the court for consent orders. Your family lawyers will present the parenting plan, written and signed by both parties, to the court for approval.

Approval is not automatic, which is why you need the guidance of a family law expert to ensure you cover all the relevant issues. If the court determines that the plans are in order, and in the best interest of the children, the consent orders will be approved, and become formal. This means the orders are legally binding and enforceable. Seasoned family lawyers will be able to explain possible consequences of breaching these orders, drawing examples from any past cases they may have handled.

Court-Issued Parenting Orders

If you and your ex-spouse can't agree on how to share parental responsibility and everything relating to the support and care of your children, you can refer the matter to the courts. Your family lawyers will help you put together any required paperwork and provide you with competent legal representation during the proceedings. The court will consider the facts presented during the submissions and hearings and give orders that it considers to be in the children's best interests.

Changing the Arrangements

For informal parenting plans, it only takes mutual agreement between the parents to make changes to the plans. Open and honest communication always makes this quite easy. On the other hand, due process needs to be followed to change consent orders or parenting orders. As with the original plans, you can present your amended parenting plan to the court for approval and formalisation.

You will need to apply for a change to an existing parenting order. A family law firm can connect you with an attorney who can help you to put together what may be necessary to prove that such a change is indeed necessary because of a change in circumstances.