Parenting Plan Checklist

What 'shared parental responsibility' means

Shared parental responsibility is taken seriously by the courts and has nothing to do with how much time the child/ren spend with each parent.


When making a parenting order in relation to the child, it is considered in the child's best interest for the child's parents to have equal shared parental responsibility (which is different from shared care) for the child.

The Family Law Act makes it clear that

  • both parents are responsible for the care of their children until the children reach the age of 18
  • arrangements which involve shared responsibilities and cooperation between the parents are in the best interests of the child

What must be considered

  • how much each parent has taken the opportunity to participate in decision-making about major long-term issues about the child
  • spent time with the child
  • communicated with the child
  • met their obligations to maintain the child
  • facilitated the other parent's involvement in these aspects of the child's life

What you should consider when considering a parenting plan

The following is a checklist of possible matters you might want to consider as you construct a parenting plan. 
1. Living arrangements 
  • How much time should each child spend with his/her mum and dad?
  • How structured and how flexible should these arrangements be?
  • If changes are needed how much notice is required?
  • How will we organise the holidays?
2. Special Days
  • Mum and dad's birthdays
  • Christmas
  • Children's birthdays
  • Other important days in our family
3.  Maintaining Contact
  • Do we need to discuss how the children will maintain contact with each of us when with the other?
4. Other family members
  • Do we need to discuss how the children will maintain their relationship with other extended family members?
5. Children's Activities
  • How can we facilitate the continued participation of our children in their cultural and sporting activities?
6. Transportation
  • How will the children move between houses and their activities?
7. Education
  • What are our children's present and future educational needs?
  • What type of school would we wish them to attend?
  • How much will each of us be involved in school activities?
  • How will homework be managed?