Custody Guideline On Shared Care Of Children
Whilst the Court assumes that there is Equal shared parental responsibility, this does not automatically mean that the child is required to spend equal time with both parents (upon separation or divorce).
Equal shared parental responsibility (which is a presumption of the Court rebutted in cases of family violence or child abuse) means that both parents have equal say in long term matters relating to their child. An example of such a matter would be a decision on the child’s schooling/education. A common misconception however, is that this presumption includes the right for both parents to spend equal time with the child.
When considering whether a child should spend equal time with both parents, the Court will make no presumptions but judge each case on several factors. A non-exhaustive list of factors which the Court has previously cited include:
- The physical proximity of both households
- Whether there is a consensus between both parents on day to day life matters of the child: e.g. Diet, health care etc.
- If there is a disagreement on the above, the probability that the parents can reach an adequate compromise
- The opinions and wishes of the child in relation to equal parenting arrangements, and the reasons behind them
- If after considering factors such as the above, the Court finds equal parent arrangements impractical, the Court will endeavour to ensure that both parents spend substantial and significant time with the child. Whilst not to the extent of an equal parenting scheme, such an arrangement will ensure both parents having a real involvement in the everyday life of the child
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