Times and parenting orders - what does yours say?

by Lorrie Brook / OCA / 21 Sep 2015

Agreed vs Set times

Today we’re talking about the time provisions in parenting orders and specifically what we want to talk about today is whether your orders are termed to be “as agreed” or whether the times are set out to be specific times.

Most parenting orders should have both, so there should always be a clause to say that a parent can spend time with the child as agreed but, failing agreement, this is what happens, and then they should go on and set out specific times. If you orders contain that then that’s great, you don’t need to do anything. What we want to make sure is that we don’t have one or the other. At the end of the day, you need to be able to have that inbuilt flexibility so that you can do things as agreed because, let’s face it, life just happens, it gets in the way, and sometimes we need flexible arrangements.

Set times, on the other hand, also provides you with that fall-back position so that if you can’t agree that this year you want to have your son on their birthday from nine ‘til twelve, that the orders actually have in place a provision for when you can’t agree, this is when you do get him. That is what we don’t want to happen; we don’t want the child to miss out on spending time with you or their other parent because you can’t agree on when that time is to occur.

It is great to have that inbuilt arrangement because, at the end of the day, you want to be able to know or your children need to know really when they’re getting picked up, when they can expect telephone calls, when they are spending time with each of you. When you can agree that’s great because you’ll be able to say, “Well, this week you’re spending time with mum or dad here because we’ve got to do...” whatever it is that you have to do. Or “After soccer on this time mum’s going to call you or dad’s going to call you”. “This week can you take your bag to school because mum or dad’s going to pick you up from school? I’ll come and get you on the weekend”.

Really, you need both, you need the flexibility but, at the same time, you need the security that if you can’t agree, because we can’t agree on everything, we have that fall-back position in our orders. That’s it for today.

Let us know if your parenting orders provide for both agreed and set times.

If there’s anything else you’d like to know please post a comment below, otherwise come on over to www.OurChildren.com.au and have a look at the other information, resources and services that we have available.

I will see you there.