Parenting Plan vs Family Court Orders?

Australia's #1 for Law
Join 150,000 Australians every month. Ask a question, respond to a question and better understand the law today!
FREE - Join Now


Active Member
29 August 2014
Hi, Since final family court orders in relation to the time the children spend with their father (custody of children). We have attended mediation and developed a parenting plan that differs from the court orders. My question is how does the parenting plan work in relation to the court orders? Does the parenting plan over ride the court orders? Are the court orders still enforceable? I now find myself in the situation where the children are telling me they are frightened of their father. He has been "manhandling" them and they don't feel safe whilst in his care.

Thanks for your time and advice.


Hi Leonie,

I'm not sure what state you are in but in NSW and likely most other states, a parenting plan has special power to override earlier court orders. This means that parents with court orders do not necessarily have to go back to court to have them adjusted as children mature and their needs and circumstances change.

Parenting plans are made and remain as private documents unless they are referred to in a future court case. They are flexible and useful documents for circumstances where the parents are usually able to resolve their own issues. But parenting plans have no legal effect beyond their capacity to override earlier court orders and influence the thinking of a judge in a later court case. A person cannot be forced to comply with a parenting plan.