If you and your former partner agree on the future arrangements for your child/ren after separation you do not have to go to court, you can:

  • make a parenting plan, or
  • obtain consent orders approved by a court.

For more information about making parenting arrangements, you should first read the brochure Marriage, families and separation and the How do I – apply for parenting orders.

For more information about making parenting arrangements, you should first read the brochure Marriage, families and separation and the How do I – apply for parenting orders.

You should also seek legal advice when considering which approach is best for you.

What is a parenting plan?

A parenting plan is a written agreement that sets out parenting arrangements for child/ren. The plan is worked out and agreed jointly, you and your former partner do not need to go to court.

Unless a court orders otherwise, you and your former partner can agree to change a parenting order by entering into a parenting plan.

A parenting plan is not a legally enforceable agreement. It is different from a parenting order, which is made by a court. For more information, see the Parenting Plan information on Family Relationships online.

The Family Law Act sets out details about parenting plans in Sections 63C, 64D, 65DA and 70NBB on this topic.

What are consent orders?

A consent order is a written agreement that is approved by a court. A consent order can cover parenting arrangements for children as well as financial arrangements such as property and maintenance. Any person concerned with the care, welfare and development of a child can apply for parenting orders.

Consent orders have the same legal effect as if they had been made by a judicial officer after a court hearing. The Court must be satisfied that the orders you ask for are in the best interest of the child. 

You can read more about the best interests of a child in the Parenting Cases – the best interests of the child page.

You can read more about the best interests of a child in the Parenting Cases – the best interests of the child page.

For step-by-step details on how to file consent orders, see the following information: