Following separation, you will need to determine the care arrangements for your child or children including:
- Where your child will live;
- Who your child will spend time and communicate with;
- What type of education and school your child will attend;
- What religious upbringing your child will have;
- What sporting and extra-curricular activities your child will attend;
- Arrangements for school holidays, birthdays and special occasions;
- Changeover arrangements.
In the absence of family violence, it is presumed that both parents will have equal shared parental responsibility for their child or children. This means that both parents have an equal role in making decisions about major long-term issues affecting the child such as where a child goes to school, major health issues or religious upbringing.
If the presumption of equal shared parental responsibility applies, the next step is to decide how much time each parent spends with the child.
The first consideration is whether equal time would be in the child’s best interests. In determining this, the following factors are considered:
- Ages of the children;
- Whether the parents live in close proximity;
- Whether the parents have a good co-parenting relationship.
If equal time is not in the best interests of the child or reasonably practicable, the next consideration is for the child to live primarily with one parent and spend substantial and significant time with the other parent, which usually involves alternate weekends and one mid-week overnight stay.
Our family lawyers can provide you with personal and practical advice on what parenting arrangement might be best for your child or children following separation including with whom they live and how much time they spend with the other parent.