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Equal Time The 50/50 Question

Think First !

Yesterday evening I received a call from a Coordinator of another group. One of the Fathers there wanted equal (50/50) time with his Son who is due to start school early next year.

The coordinator learnt that the Mother and Father live over 3 hours drive apart. When the Father was asked about the practicalities of this - was the child to go to different schools each week or was he going to be continually subjected to a 3 hour drive - the response was "Had not thought about it".

All applications to the Courts have to have a degree of 'practicality' and the perceived ability that they will work - otherwise a Family Report is likely to come back with a negative and 'not child focused' report


It would be extremely unlikely for any Court to award a week about routine with different schools or subject a 5 year old to a 3 hour journey to school.







Executive Member of SRL-Resources, the Family Law People on this site (look for the Avatars) Be mindful what you post in public areas. 

Agog is generous

The key is Section 65DAA of the Family Law Act 1975, as amended.

A 3 hour commute to school is extremely unlikely to be considered in the the child's best interests, even in outback Australia. That why they have school on the Air and Boarding Schools.



Section 65 DAA says

65DAA  Court to consider child spending equal time or substantial and significant time with each parent in certain circumstances

Equal time

             (1)  If a parenting order provides (or is to provide) that a child's parents are to have equal shared parental responsibility for the child, the court must:

                     (a)  consider whether the child spending equal time with each of the parents would be in the best interests of the child; and

                     (b)  consider whether the child spending equal time with each of the parents is reasonably practicable; and

                     ©  if it is, consider making an order to provide (or including a provision in the order) for the child to spend equal time with each of the parents.

Note 1:       The effect of section 60CA is that in deciding whether to go on to make a parenting order for the child to spend equal time with each of the parents, the court will regard the best interests of the child as the paramount consideration.

Note 2:       See subsection (5) for the factors the court takes into account in determining what is reasonably practicable.

Substantial and significant time

             (2)  If:

                     (a)  a parenting order provides (or is to provide) that a child's parents are to have equal shared parental responsibility for the child; and

                     (b)  the court does not make an order (or include a provision in the order) for the child to spend equal time with each of the parents; and

the court must:

                     ©  consider whether the child spending substantial and significant time with each of the parents would be in the best interests of the child; and

                     (d)  consider whether the child spending substantial and significant time with each of the parents is reasonably practicable; and

                     (e)  if it is, consider making an order to provide (or including a provision in the order) for the child to spend substantial and significant time with each of the parents.

Note 1:       The effect of section 60CA is that in deciding whether to go on to make a parenting order for the child to spend substantial time with each of the parents, the court will regard the best interests of the child as the paramount consideration.

Note 2:       See subsection (5) for the factors the court takes into account in determining what is reasonably practicable.

             (3)  For the purposes of subsection (2), a child will be taken to spend substantial and significant time with a parent only if:

                     (a)  the time the child spends with the parent includes both:

                              (i)  days that fall on weekends and holidays; and

                             (ii)  days that do not fall on weekends or holidays; and

                     (b)  the time the child spends with the parent allows the parent to be involved in:

                              (i)  the child's daily routine; and

                             (ii)  occasions and events that are of particular significance to the child; and

                     ©  the time the child spends with the parent allows the child to be involved in occasions and events that are of special significance to the parent.

             (4)  Subsection (3) does not limit the other matters to which a court can have regard in determining whether the time a child spends with a parent would be substantial and significant.

Reasonable practicality

             (5)  In determining for the purposes of subsections (1) and (2) whether it is reasonably practicable for a child to spend equal time, or substantial and significant time, with each of the child's parents, the court must have regard to:

                     (a)  how far apart the parents live from each other; and

                     (b)  the parents' current and future capacity to implement an arrangement for the child spending equal time, or substantial and significant time, with each of the parents; and

                     ©  the parents' current and future capacity to communicate with each other and resolve difficulties that might arise in implementing an arrangement of that kind; and

                     (d)  the impact that an arrangement of that kind would have on the child; and

            (e)        such other matters as the court considers relevant




For me - Shared Parenting is a Reality - Maybe it can be for you too!
This practicality is extremly important. It is also very important to see if 50/50 can be accomodated without having to leave the child with relatives or others. What is the point of a 50/50 arrangement when not in the care of the direct parent.

A working Dad would need strong support from his employer to be able to accommodate a 50/50 arrangement.

There are many options to be considered up to 50/50 that could well work a lot better than exactly 50/50

Executive Secretary - Shared Parenting Council of Australia
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I started the topic to create some general discussion on the Equal Time issue. As we say applications should be realistic and child focused. We have seen too many applications that are totally unrealistic on the basis that asking for too much may mean getting a compromise 'fair' amount.

I believe on occasions it may mean the opposite, there are too many judgments criticising some proposals as unworkable.

I wonder if this topic should have its own forum - devoted to discussion around the Equal Time 50/50 issue?




Executive Member of SRL-Resources, the Family Law People on this site (look for the Avatars) Be mindful what you post in public areas. 

Shift Working and 50/50

I, like many other Fathers, work shifts. I work a 4 on 4 off system plus 6 weeks holidays. I am in the process of asking for 50/50 or as close to it as possible.

 The wife and I live 5 minutes apart and the child's school is 5 minutes from both of us. Additionally the child's grandparents live 10 minutes away, as do other close family members. The wife has no family in Australia. Has there been any cases where a similar situation has arisen?

The grandparents often attend the child's sports events and I often take him/her around to see them.
The wife will have nothing to do with the grandparents or other close family members.
 

Executive Member of SRL-Resources, the Family Law People on the site (Look for the Avatars).   Be mindful what you post in the public areas. 
It is a common scenario. One set of grandparents close by and the others geographically very seperate. Plenty of orders contain Grandparents collecting children from school - it depends on the frequency. If it is a couple of days per week your ex's solicitor would probably tell her to accept it. Fighting the issue would make her appear negative. There is a default rebuttable presumption of 'equal responsibility' for parents but many cases leave no doubt that the attitude of the Courts is that there is a 'presumption' children will have contact with Grandparents.

Now where is your case outline?


Executive Member of SRL-Resources, the Family Law People on this site (look for the Avatars) Be mindful what you post in public areas. 
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