New Australian research data on the emotional well being of children provides food for thought about the plusses and minuses of Courts ordering care of the children be substantially shared between parents who are in continuing conflict.
This research focuses on children of separating parents who have been unable to resolve their differences and who require the Family Court to determine the care arrangements for the children.
Generally speaking, children benefit greatly in maintaining good quality relationships with both parents who can focus on the children’s interests and sort our appropriate parenting arrangements amicably between them. For those parents who cannot achieve this goal, there is a very significant need for careful consideration of the impact upon the children of continuing high level of conflict between the parents and what in those circumstances are appropriate parenting arrangements with the children. In these situations, the children spending near equal time with each parent is often not in their best interests and the psychological issues that need to be considered in determining what time children spend with their respective parents are complex and among other things is related to their age and developmental needs.
It is important that developmentally inappropriate living arrangements are not imposed on children in high conflict families. Younger children in particular need to have arrangements that are developmentally appropriate as their healthy emotional development depends upon their early experiences of a continuous, emotionally available care giving relationship which shared cared arrangements involving frequent moves from one parent to another can inadvertently compromise.
Older children can increasingly cope with being away from one parent or the other for longer periods however are still often significantly effected when moving from one parents household to the other where the parents are unable to conceal their antagonism towards each other from the children.
The shared parental responsibility amendments to the Family Law Act emphasises the importance of parental involvement in the care of their children and requires careful consideration be given to the parenting arrangements to be put in place and should not be seen as requiring an equal or near equal shared parenting in all cases or even the majority of cases.
If we can assist to guide you as to your rights, entitlements and obligations under the Family Law Act in this complex issue, feel free to contact me Matthew Oakley on 6333 4400 or call into our offices at Level 1 Suite 4 90 Keppel st., (cnr Keppel & Bentinck streets) Bathurst.