When parents separate, it is understandable that each at the very least seeks an arrangement that would allow the child to spend an equal amount of time with both parents. In practice, this can often be difficult to implement and may be impacted by many different issues such as the child’s age, care requirements, education and the geographical location of the parents.
When determining the arrangements, the Court’s attention in the main centres on the one key issue; what is deemed to be in the child’s best interests. Historically, if the time was not spent equally the Court would make a Residence Order confirming who the child should live with and a Contact Order for the non-resident parent. This however often carried a stigmatism that one parent had more responsibility than the other, something the Court was keen to avoid.
The modern approach adopted by the Court is to make a Child Arrangements Order. This is more flexible and can include provision for the child to live with both parents, often referred to as a shared care arrangement. The key factor with a shared care arrangement is that it is not necessary for a child to spend equal time with both parents for the order to be made. Instead it emphasises the important role of each parent and encourages co-parenting being in the best interests of the child.
For more information or assistance in securing child contact arrangements, please contact our family team