About Me

From Traditional to Innovative: Blogs About Legal Matters

There have been a few times in my life that I have needed a lawyer, and during those times, their help was invaluable. I worked with lawyers during the custody battle for my kids, when I dissolved the partnership for my business and after I suffered an injury at work. In this blog, I plan to write about the law from a range of angles. I may share posts inspired by my personal experiences, what's popular in the news or what strikes my fancy when I'm writing. I have a daughter, Oliva. I manage a medical clinic, and I love blogging. I hope you like the results. My name is Melinda, and thanks for reading!

From Traditional to Innovative: Blogs About Legal Matters

Parenting Responsibilities and Divorce

by Júnia Melo

If you are divorcing or separating then you may not agree on custody (living arrangements) and care of your children.  It is not uncommon for such disputes to occur and a family lawyer usually has to be brought in to help work out an agreement.

Causes of Disputes

A dispute is likely to ensue over:

  • Who is to have custody on special days such as school holidays and birthdays
  • Who makes decisions on religion, health and matters education
  • How much time each parent spends with the children
  • What happens when one parent resettles in another country

Best Interests of the Child

All children have a right to quality time with both of their parents except if there is a good reason this should not be the case. According to Section 65 DAA of the Family Law Act 1975, the court should consider if equal time suits the children's best interests and if it is practical. In the event that orders do not provide for equal responsibility, the court should bear in mind what is known as significant or substantial time.  If this order is also not made the court must seek other arrangements that are reasonably practicable and in the best interests of the children.

The practical aspects of it are also borne in mind. For instance, the parent with whom children live with can make decisions on day to day matters such as bed time and study times. Long term decisions that have significant issues in the life of the child however have to be made in consultation where equal shared responsibility orders are in effect.

Parenting Arrangements with Regard to Age

The court can consider age-appropriate arrangements and grant orders for the same. Research in attachment theory (John Bowlby, 1958) inform these arrangements regarding the bonds between a newborn baby and a primary carer (in most cases the mother). Age appropriate orders progressively increase the time in light of social science factors which are in the best interests of the child.

According to age development theory (keeping in mind the circumstances of parental separation and individual growth and development of the baby):

  • Babies should spend more time with the primary carer (one parent) and short frequent periods with the other one.
  • At age two, children can spend only a night away from the primary carer.
  • At the school going age, the time with both parents can be shared equally—weeks apart.
  • From age ten onwards, the time will depend on arrangements made by the parents and can run into months and years.

For more information, contact offices like Marino Law.