In Brief - Enforcement of court orders and parenting
A court can fine or gaol a parent for not abiding by court
orders. However, this is not the case with parenting plans.
Without court orders or parenting plans, both parents are
legally responsible for their children's upbringing and this
responsibility continues even if the relationship breaks down.
Generally, parents are the people who know what is best for their
children, so it is usually in the best interests of children for
parents to agree about what will happen to their children. This
agreement can be documented either as consent orders with the
court, or a parenting plan.
What is a parenting plan?
A parenting plan is a written document confirming what the
parents have agreed to with respect to their children. It is signed
and dated by both parents, but is not lodged with the court (in the
way that consent orders are). Parenting plans are not legally
binding and cannot be enforced by the court. However, it is not
recommended that you enter into a parenting plan without seeking
legal advice first, as the provisions of the parenting plan are
very persuasive and the court may take them into account.
Given that parenting plans are not enforceable, if you reach an
agreement with your former spouse about parenting arrangements for
your children and would like to make the agreement enforceable,
then you will need to document your agreement as consent orders
sealed by the court.
Enforcement of court orders
If you have court orders, they can be enforced by the court
through various means. For example, a court can order that the
children are collected from one parent and delivered to the care of
the other parent, or that there be make up time given if one parent
misses time with the children because of the actions of the other
parent. A court can fine or even gaol a parent who does not abide
by court orders. There is also the possibility that a court will
change orders to reflect that the children live with the other
parent if a parent does not comply with the court orders.
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The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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