Want shared custody? Avoid these 5 things!
- December 15, 2016
- Jennifer Hetherington
- No comments
Many parents want shared custody of their children but make it hard to achieve....
Many family law clients want to be able to have their children in their care for an equal amount of time as the other parent – often called shared custody.
However, those same parents often make mistakes that make it difficult – sometimes impossible – for shared custody to work and they don’t obtain the family law outcome they seek.
There are many factors that go into making shared custody succeed or fail.
Here are our top 5 tips for things to avoid if you are seeking a family law order for shared custody
1. Text messages that don't promote co-parenting
Sending rude, abrupt or worse still, abusive text messages to the other parent.
Text is really only suitable for parents who have a good parenting relationship.
If you can’t text nice, don’t text at all.
2. Refusing to communicate with the other parent
If you want to be involved in decision-making, then you need to engage in a conversation with the other parent, in a respectful way.
3. Using emails or changeovers to criticise your former partner
Emails and changeover times are not an opportunity to criticise the way the other person parents, or try to right the wrongs of your relationship or its breakdown.
You are unlikely to convince the other parent you are right. You are more likely to create conflict in your parenting relationship. And conflict harms children.
4. Refusing to share clothes or toys between households.
Or not returning items sent by the other parent.
When children are told they can only keep things at one home, this confuses them and brings them into your conflict.
If your child has a security item (like a blanket) that helps them feel comfortable, why wouldn’t you want them to have it in both homes?
If your kids are superhero fans, why can’t they take their costumes between Mum’s and Dad’s house?
5. Insisting on an arrangement that is not age appropriate
We understand you want to see your kids as much as possible.
But there is no ‘right’ to equal time.
Younger children might not cope with that arrangement and it might not be practical.
Take some time to think about whether or not a week about arrangement is right for your very young child from the get go?
Maybe starting with a different arrangement of shorter blocks would be better?
It doesn’t mean time won’t ever be equal, but taking a child-focussed approach can reduce the impact of your divorce on your children.
So what gives me the best chance of shared custody?
Ultimately, low conflict and good communication are the two factors most likely to lead to successful shared custody.
If you are trying to negotiate equal time, avoiding the 5 things listed above, may assist you to reach an agreement.
If you are headed to the Family Court, a judge will be on the lookout for whether you are the cause of the conflict, or have tried to reduce it.
An Affidavit full of criticism of the other parent and mudslinging, is unlikely to convince a Judge that you can have a good enough co-parenting relationship to result in positive outcomes for your children.