Every child is different. Even within your own family, especially if you have more than one child – as you are more than aware, each of them will have their own distinct personality.
And, depending on their ages, they will more than likely be at different developmental stages and will more than likely have different needs. You as a parent can provide those needs in a child focused way. That may mean that you may have to put what you want or desire on the backburner whilst you are ensuring that you are giving your children the best start in life.
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Things to keep in mind
Remember – a lot of the time, if not always, it is the quality, not quantity, of time that you spend with children that counts. It is the experience. No child (ourselves included) ever looks back and says “so glad I spent week about with Mum. #BestTimesEver!”. Instead we all reflect on experiences i.e. “I loved that time I went to the park with Dad and we got chased by an angry seagull who was after our chips!”.
Children don’t see who is ‘best’. They are not like us adults. Children see Mum and Dad and they love you both. You are their world. Remember that. Your actions or inactions will have a huge impact on them. Let’s make that impact for the better.
Keep the above in mind and go through the pathway to resolution to get outcomes for your children’s care arrangements.
What does the law say?
The best interests of your child are paramount. There are around 16 considerations that the Court will consider in Section 60CC to help the Court determine what is in your child’s best interest. The primary considerations are that your child (not you) has a right to a meaningful relationship with both of their parents and the need to protect children from harm or the real risk of harm.
5 steps to working out children's care arrangements
Parental Responsibility – each parent has the responsibility of making decisions bout their children including such things as health, education, religion.
The Family Law Act goes one step further and presumes that parental responsibility should be equally shared (the presumption) – meaning you both must have discussions with the view of coming to an agreement.
That presumption is rebuttable, meaning it will not apply if there is family violence, child abuse or it is not in your child’s best interests.
If the presumption applies, then the Court must look at shared time - note I have not said must order.
If the presumption does not apply or the Court does not think it is in your child;s best interests for shared time to be ordered, then the Court will look at other care arrangements such as substantial and significant time (which could be 4 nights out of 9 or every second weekend).