Documenting our Parenting Agreement: Risks of Not Documenting it

Risks of not documenting your Parenting Arrangements 

You’ve separated but managed to reach agreement on how you’re going to parent your children, you’re happy with it, the other party is happy and you don’t want to rock the boat, you don’t want to upset your former spouse, you want to keep it amicable. That’s a common situation.

But things change. People regret decisions. People hear from others that they ‘are entitled to spend more time with their child’, ‘need to have more influence over their child’, need to have ‘more control over parenting’ etc. People re-partner and new partners, relatives, friends and neighbours all often have something to say about your parenting arrangements and may try to influence what is done. A parent might decide to relocate with the Child.

Any one of these things could have you facing a situation where your partner decides later to change your “informal” parenting agreement.

People on the friendliest of terms will still look after themselves first and do what they think is best for them and the Child.

The best time to get your former partner to agree to make the parenting agreement you have reached final, binding and enforceable, is:



  • when you both have just decided on your parenting arrangements; and
  • when you are still on reasonable terms.

If you both are prepared to make the parenting arrangement you have agreed to final, then it should be easy to get your agreement into Consent Orders.

If your former spouse doesn’t want to have Consent Orders, then you may want to ask why not – are they hiding something or hedging their bets to keep options open for the future.

If you reach agreement but want to keep things informal without a Consent Order, you can be taking a big risk.

If you agree, why not put it in writing and get it legally enforceable, so there will never be any misunderstanding or attempt by one person to change things later.

It would be nice to be able to rely on your former spouse’s word, but you are no longer together and the only thing you can have complete trust in, in relation to something as serious as your children, is a Court Order.

Documenting a Parenting Agreement: More Information

We also have the following Fact Sheets providing more legal information about documenting your Parenting Agreement:


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