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Care arrangements when parents have separated

Parenting agreements

What might a parenting agreement deal with?

Care of Children Act 2004, s 40

Parents can make their own “parenting agreement” to deal with who will provide day-to-day care for the children and, if only one parent has day-to-day care, when and how the other parent will have contact with the child (including over holidays).

Is a parenting agreement legally binding?

No. A parenting agreement can’t be enforced in the courts like other agreements and contracts dealing with property.

However, parents and guardians can apply to the Family Court to formalise a parenting agreement by turning the agreed terms into a court order. The agreement can then be enforced like any other court order.

As well as parenting issues, agreements brought to the Family Court in this way sometimes also include guardianship issues, such as which school the child will go to.

What if a parenting agreement isn’t working?

If parents can’t agree about what the agreement means or how it should work, either parent can apply to the Family Court for a Parenting Order.

Next Section | Parenting orders
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