Flexibility and Parenting Orders

by Lorrie Brook / OCA / 28 Sep 2015

Can you have flexibility in Parenting Orders?

Today’s blog post comes as a result of a user question, and I think that came out of last week’s blog regarding orders and whether if you have orders in place, can you still have flexibility to do your own thing?

So as I said last week, if your orders have that clause that you can spend time with your child as agreed but, failing agreement, this is what happens - then generally yes. You do need to speak to your solicitor about this or your lawyer because obviously we can’t give you legal advice, but for the most part orders do have that inbuilt flexibility. Common sense will prevail and say that if the two of you can agree to do something different then you’re not going to turn around and try and contravene the other party for not complying with an order when you had an agreement to do something alternate anyway. So you’ve got to use common sense there.

For the most part yes, your orders can still remain flexible. It’s just having that ability to have the fall-back position, which is why most people prefer the orders. So when you can’t agree, when there are difficult scenarios, and you can’t come to an agreement as to what’s supposed to happen for your children now, then the order should cover that. But certainly, at the end of the day, if you’re concerned that your orders don’t have that inbuilt flexibility clause, go and seek independent legal advice. At the same time, remember that if you two can up with an alternate agreement you can always put that into a parenting plan, you don’t need lawyers to do that, just make sure it’s in writing, it’s dated, it concerns matters regarding your children, it’s signed by each of you.

Having said that, obviously before you do a parenting plan, please seek independent legal advice because remember that parenting plan will always trump the orders. So there are all those little bits and pieces that you do need to be mindful of when you are drafting your own agreements in the future. But, again, just having a verbal agreement or having an email, using our communication wall, using our calendar to say, “Yes, that’s agreed”, that’s fine as well. It won’t be enforceable in court but, at the end of the day, at least you’ve got your evidence there to say, “Yes, this is what was agreed” if the other party did try to contravene you or something like that.

So I hope that answers your question.

Are your parenting orders flexible?

If you’ve got any other questions you want answered please put them in the comments below, you can email us, use the “contact us” form. Otherwise, come over and check out www.OurChildren.com.au to see what other information, resources and services we have available.

I’ll see you there, bye.