You don’t need to do anything formal if you and the other parent agree on how your children will be cared for.
However, you might find it useful to write your arrangements down as a private agreement so there is no misunderstanding about what you have agreed. This is also known as a parenting plan.
A parenting plan sets out what you’ve agreed on
A parenting plan will help you work through and record decisions like:
day-to-day care of your children (this used to be called custody) – you might want to share day-to-day care equally, or 1 of you may have day-to-day care most, or all, of the time
arrangements for contact (this used to be called access) – if you have the children most of the time, the parenting plan says how the other parent is going to spend time with them, including birthdays, other special days, Christmas and holidays
other parenting issues – this includes decisions such as what school the children go to, after school activities, their religion, medical treatment, or their name.
Making a parenting plan
You can get help with your parenting plan through:
If you both want to, you can get the Family Court to make your private agreement or parenting plan into a Consent Order. This means that if 1 person is not sticking to the agreement, you can get the court to enforce it. You don’t need help from a lawyer to get a Consent Order but you need to pay court costs.