False. There is a misconception in the community, that there is a presumption of equal time between separated parents. There is a presumption in the Family Law Act that parents have shared parental responsibility. Parental Responsibility is different to time spent. Parental responsibility is making decisions about the long term care and welfare of your children such as:
- Major medical decisions;
- Change of name.
If shared parental responsibility applies then the court must consider whether equal time is reasonably practicable. If it is not reasonably practicable then the court must consider significant and meaningful time.
In reality, families who can make an equal time arrangement work for them, are those families that don’t require the intervention of the courts. Typically equal time arrangements work best between parents who are amicable, flexible and co-operative and where children are at least school age. Pre-school and infant children have different developmental needs which often means that arrangements often continue with a primary carer and structured and regular time with the other parent and extended family.
Significant and meaningful time includes weekends, weekdays, holidays and special occasions significant to both the parents and the child.
There is no one size fits all for parenting arrangements. At Future Family Law we aim to create child focused parenting arrangements for our client and their children. This includes consideration of the following:
- The children’s routines, activities and schedules;
- Each parents role prior to separation;
- The developmental needs of the children;
- The parent’s availability – work schedules, proximity etc;
- The role and relationship of extended family in the children’s lives;
- The proposed changes to the factors above and the impact the changes may have on the children;
- The need to protect the children and parents from harm.
We then use this information to tailor the parenting arrangements specifically to the family dynamics with a goal of protecting children from harm and conflict and assisting families to achieve amicable co parenting arrangements. Where amicable co-parenting arrangements cannot be created due to risk factors we assist our client’s to develop parenting arrangements that are protective and enforceable. If you would like more information about how we can assist you with your parenting arrangements, please contact Future Family Law to discuss your specific requirements.