Should You File a Parenting Plan or Consent Orders Following a Breakup?

If you're navigating the challenges associated with a breakup, you want to know what you should do about the children. In an ideal world, you should focus on their welfare and ensure that they are well cared for in every situation, but this is not always an easy task following problems with the relationship. You may have heard of two solutions: a parenting plan and a consent order, but what are these and which is the best option in your case?

Plotting the Way Forward

Firstly, it's important to realise that the legal system is very interested in the welfare of the children in this situation and much more so than they are with those of the adults. They'll certainly want to see that you've taken care of this situation before finalising a divorce, and will want to see that suitable parenting arrangements are in place.

Parenting Plans

If you are able to agree on terms between you and are confident that you will both live up to your commitments, then you can formalise a parenting plan. This is an informal agreement, but it must cover all of the key areas if it is to be valid. For example, it must detail where the child is to live and how much time they will spend with each parent. It must also discuss maintenance and financial support and how any disputes will be resolved should they arise. It should be in writing, signed and dated if it is to be recognised as a parenting plan.

Consent Orders

Sometimes, tensions are high between the two adults. Other situations could arise, and there may be some uncertainty as to whether one or both parties would fulfil their obligations under a parenting plan. However, if they can agree on the basic terms, they can apply to the court to recognise that plan under a consent order. So instead of this being an informal agreement between the parents, it is enforceable by the court. It may contain the same details as the informal parenting plan but should one party not fulfil any obligations, the court can lay down punishments.

Getting Professional Advice

It's very important to get these plans drafted correctly and to ensure that all parties understand what they're doing. This is why you need to solicit the services of an experienced family lawyer. They'll help you draft the plans and advise you about filing with the court. 

For more information, contact a local firm like ARDENT LAWYERS.