Child custody and parenting
‘Child custody’ is a term which is still widely used in the public for a child’s (or children’s) living arrangements and care arrangements.
The terminology which is now often used in the Family Courts and in the context of family law is who the child ‘lives with’ and who the child ‘spends time with’.
Regardless of whether parties refer to child custody arrangements; care arrangements; or residence it is important that all arrangements which relate to the children are in the children’s best interests. This includes who they spend time with and who they live with as well as practical matters such as how the child will go from living with/spending time with one person to living with/spending time with the other person (commonly known as ‘changeover’ or ‘handover’).
The law says that in making decisions about what is in the best interests of the child it is important that the child has a meaningful and significant relationship with both parents, but also (and so long as) the children is protected from harm (See Part VII of the Family Law Act 1975).
There are a number of factors which inform this decision (see Section 60CC of the Family Law Act 1975).
Every family and every set of circumstances is different. There is no ‘one size fits all’ model for determining what type of arrangements are going to work for you and your family.
Below we have set out some information which may be relevant to your circumstances. However, in our experience, one of the most important factors in determining the outcome is if targeted advice is obtained as early on as possible.
If you are separating or thinking about separation then we strongly recommend that you make an appointment with us to get specific advice which is relevant to your circumstances.
If you would like further information in relation to parenting matters contact us make an appointment with one of our lawyers.