The terms ‘custody’ and ‘access’ are still thrown around when it comes to the parenting arrangements for children. Those words, along with ‘guardianship’, were removed from the Family Law Act 1975 in 1996, along with ‘residence’ and ‘contact’ in 2006. These terms were replaced with ‘lives with’, ‘spends time with’ and ‘communicates with’.
This move granted rights to children and made clear the overarching intention of the Family Law Act 1975; that is, the best interests of the child is the paramount consideration when considering parenting arrangements.
Parents who have separated have a responsibility to ensure the children are well looked after – financially, medically, access to education, and their physical and emotional wellbeing – and this responsibility falls on both parents.
Parenting arrangements is the umbrella term that encompasses any time a child spends with each parent, communicates with them and who the child primarily lives with. It is important that the child’s best interests are the clear intention of any arrangements, and parents remain flexible while they are still establishing a routine. The family law team at Mullane & Lindsay Solicitors boasts an impressive 15-40 year experience level amongst the solicitors, and they are ready to assist you with your parenting needs.
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Attribution: Written By Sally-Anne Todkill, Legal Assistant (Paralegal) to Ashleigh John (Director)