Parenting Plan - Needed to Get a Divorce?

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30 June 2014
I have been separated from my husband for 5 years but we haven't bothered to get a divorce. We have a son and therefore have maintained a very amicable relationship. He recently presented me with a parenting plan as he said we are required to have one to get a divorce, which I guess he now wants, which is fine by me but I'm very reluctant to sign/have a parenting plan as we've never ever needed one before (I know you can never say never but I really believe this is unnecessary).

Basically I just want to know if he's right, do we need to have a parenting plan to get a legal divorce?


Well-Known Member
8 April 2014
G'day KTSA,
Which state or territory are you in?
The Family Law Courts site has some great information. The "Basic steps to getting a divorce in Australia" page sets out the steps for you and the "Divorce" page has more detailed information - a relevant part is set out below:

We are getting divorced – will decisions about future arrangements for our children, property and maintenance be made at the same time?
The granting of a divorce does not decide issues about property and maintenance or parenting arrangements for your children. If you want to make arrangements about these issues you can:
  • make an agreement with your spouse and file it with a court, or
  • seek orders from a court, where you and your spouse cannot reach an agreement.
For parenting cases, you also have the option to make a parenting plan. For more information about parenting plans, go or call 1800 050 321.

If you want to apply for maintenance for yourself or a division of property, you must file a separate application within 12 months of the date the divorce becomes final. Otherwise, you will need the Court’s permission to apply.

More information can be found under Children’s Matters and Property and Financial Matters.

My interpretation of that is that getting a divorce and deciding parenting arrangements for your children are two separate things, so the granting of divorce wouldn't be conditional on you signing a parenting plan. However, it would be prudent to consider arrangements if your ex has proposed a plan. Check out the Family Law Courts "If you agree on arrangements" page for good information about parenting plans and Consent Orders.