Shared parenting is emerging as the better option for co-parenting children with the Courts moving away from the alternate weekend “visitation” schedule.
There are myths and realities to shared parenting and it is important for professionals, parents, scholars and advocates when navigating family law systems and processes to be aware of these myths and realities.
1. Following separation, parents are automatically given the option of shared parenting
The Court requires both parents are able to be amicable and co-operate with each other and make joint decisions. The couple cannot have a history of domestic abuse, disturbance or violence on record and need to be able to demonstrate that the relationship is not acrimonious. Another important consideration is geographical proximity i.e. children need to be able to attend the one school and travel time to and from school from each parent’s place will be considered.
2. Infants and toddlers should spend the majority of time being nurtured by their mothers
If children are well attached to the other carer overnight stays will assist in forming a meaningful basis for parent child relations.
3. In a shared parenting arrangement there is no child support
The amount of child support paid depends on the amount of time a parent spends parenting the children. Disparity in income and the amount of time spent parenting are the two main considerations and child support will be equalised accordingly.
It has been the case that some parents who take no interest in parenting their children and have never formed a meaningful relationship with their child, however, following separation they apply for significant or equal time as a means to evade the financial responsibilities such as child support.
4. Raising children in two separate homes creates instability for the child
A clear, practical parenting plan in addition to both parents willingness to be amicable will quickly get children into a routine. Changeovers can be difficult so it may be appropriate to lean towards a pattern that has minimal changeovers except for infants. What the parents portray as normal will become a regular part of that child’s life and become the norm.
For further advice regarding a parenting issue, please contact our office on (02) 6333 4400 or visit us at Level 1, Suite 4, 90 Keppel Street, Bathurst.