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Week on week off – that’s what everyone does, right?

If you and the other parent can agree on a parenting arrangement that suits you, the other parent and the child we encourage you to formalise that arrangement by way of parenting plan or consent orders. At Wiltshire Family Law, we can help you to negotiate and formalise your parenting arrangements.

 

Child Custody

What if we can’t agree?
If you and the other parent cannot agree on the parenting arrangements and have engaged in Family Dispute Resolution in an attempt to resolve the issues, then you may apply to the Court and the Court will decide on the parenting arrangements for you.

Please note, this is not as quick and straight forward as it sounds.  Some parenting matters take years to resolve with many Court appearances in between.

Live with and spend time with?
If you cannot agree on parenting arrangements, the Court will determine with whom a child is to live and with whom a child is to spend time.  The terms “custody” and “visitation” are no longer part of the family law vocabulary.

How does the Court decide who the child lives with?
The most important considerations for the Court is the benefit to the child of having a meaningful relationship with both parents weighed against any need to protect the child from physical or psychological harm.

Other consideration the Court reflects on when determining parenting arrangements include:

  • The child’s views;
  • The child’s relationships;
  • Both parent’s ability to ensure the relationship between the child and the other parent or family members;
  • The likely effect on the child of any change to their current living arrangement; and
  • What type of parenting arrangements are possible (can the child travel quickly and cheaply between households or does someone have to pay for air travel etc.).

The team at Wiltshire Family Law can help you with parenting arrangements from early negotiations to the later trial stages of your parenting matter.

What do parenting arrangements involve?
Not only do parenting arrangements involve who the child is to live with and spend time with, but they also determine whether the parents have to consult regarding the major long-term issues relating to the child (e.g. what school they attend, where they live, whether they are to practice a religion).

There is a presumption of equal shared parental responsibility which mean that both parents have to consult with each other about major long-term issues relating to the child.  This presumption may be rebutted if there is abuse or family violence. If the presumption of equal shared parental responsibility is rebutted then an order for sole parental responsibility is appropriate.

Dos and Don’ts in Parenting

  • Do enrol in a “Focus on Kids”, “Parenting Orders Program” or other parenting after separation program.
  • Do not involve your child in the parenting dispute by asking them where they would prefer to live.
  • Do enrol your child in a “Pop Stars”, “Poppers” or other support course for children after separation.
  • Do not talk negatively about the other parent to your child.
  • Do seek legal assistance at an early stage to assist in negotiating and formalising your parenting arrangement.
Talk to a specialist in family law
For any further information you require or if you’d like to arrange an appointment with one of our lawyers concerning child custody, please contact us.