Victoria Legal Aid

If you agree on parenting arrangements

Parenting plans and consent orders are a way to record your arrangements if you agree on parenting arrangements.

If you agree on parenting arrangements you can:

  • make a parenting plan – a written agreement that is not legally enforceable
  • get a consent order – approved by the court and legally enforceable.

It is important that you get legal advice before making a parenting plan or consent order so you understand the effect of any agreement.

Parenting plans

A parenting plan is a signed written agreement between parents (and others, if involved) that sets out the care arrangements for the children. It may affect the amount of child support you receive.

A parenting plan must be in writing, and dated and signed by both parents (and any other people involved). You can change your parenting plan at any time, but it must be signed and dated again.

A family dispute resolution service may be able to help you make a parenting plan with your ex-partner.

Parenting plans are not legally enforceable. However, if you have a parenting order a court will say that any later parenting plans change this order. The court would expect you to act in accordance with the latest parenting plan unless you can show that you agreed to the plan because of threats or intimidation.

A written agreement (or parenting plan) approved by the court is called a consent order. It is made by the court with the agreement of parents (and others, if involved). It has the same legal force as other parenting orders.

You can get a consent order without going to court. The Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia has a do-it-yourself kit so you can apply for a consent orderExternal Link about:

  • arrangements for your children
  • division of property.

There is a fee for filing an application for consent ordersExternal Link .

Other support

Find out how you can get other support for parenting arrangements, child contact and child support.

Disclaimer: The material in this print-out relates to the law as it applies in the state of Victoria. It is intended as a general guide only. Readers should not act on the basis of any material in this print-out without getting legal advice about their own particular situations. Victoria Legal Aid disclaims any liability howsoever caused to any person in respect of any action taken in reliance on the contents of the publication.

We help Victorians with their legal problems and represent those who need it most. Find legal answers, chat with us online, or call us. You can speak to us in English or ask for an interpreter. You can also find more legal information at www.legalaid.vic.gov.au

Reviewed 07 April 2022

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