Parenting Orders and Parenting Plans

Managing separated families can be tricky. Quite often schools are caught in the middle of a bitter separation and are required to make decisions that impact the schools processes regarding care for students, information dissemination and communications.

You will no doubt have experienced parents seeking to convince you that they have certain rights or that certain arrangements have been agreed or put in place regarding the care of the child. So that you can stay on top of this issue and ensure the school is clear about its obligations, you should understand the different documents, terms and consequences of separated family arrangements.

Starting Point

Regardless of whether the parents, guardians or carer have been marries, are separated or were never in a relationship together, the starting point in relation to children at your school is that both parties are to be treated as having equal shared responsibility for the child.

This means that the parental duties an obligations of each party is joint and includes jointly making decisions for their child in respect of:

  • Education
  • Health and medical treatment
  • Religion and culture

Where there is no Court order in place, the presumption is that equal shared parental responsibility applies.

By extension, this also means that each parent/guardian has equal rights to information regarding their child’s enrolment at your school. This means reports, newsletters, announcements, attendance at events etc.

Hint: there is no such thing as parental rights, only parental responsibilities.

If a parent is trying to enforce a right, make sure you look a little deeper into the proper arrangements.

Parenting Plans vs Parenting Orders

The language and terminology around parenting arrangements can be confusing, particularly when you are trying to work out what the school’s obligations are to comply with or give effect to specified parenting arrangements.

The table below sets out some of the different features of parenting plans and parenting orders to help you position your response.

Whatever the situation may be, the school’s position should always be that it is a matter for the parents to make the necessary parenting arrangements and then simply to advise the school once those arrangements are made.

How can Brennan Law Partners assist

If you need help interpreting a parenting plan or parenting order and how it applies to your school, contact us today.

If you have any questions regarding any information in this BLP Brief, we welcome you to contact us at any time.
This is meant as a guide only and should not be taken as legal advice.

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