Does a father have a right to an equal 50/50 custody arrangement of his children?

No. There is no presumption of a 50/50 custody arrangement. The law does not specify how much time children should spend with each parent. The welfare and best interests of the child are the paramount consideration when deciding on custody arrangements. The Courts often rely on the expert testimony of custody experts for purposes of deciding custody disputes.

What are examples of joint custody arrangements?

The following are common joint custody arrangements:

  • Child spends week to week with each parent
  • Child spends three days per week with one parent and four with the other
  • five days with each parent, followed by two with each parent
  • two days with one parent, five with the other, five days with the first parent, then two with the other.
What factors should I consider when determining what custody arrangement is best for myself and my children?

Important Factors

  • Available Time- Do you have enough quality time to spend with your child? If you cannot be home until 6pm during the week, you might be better to have the child on weekends only.
  • Proximity – How far apart do you and your ex reside from one another? Your child will probably need to remain at the same school and also think about the logistics of moving your child between residences.
  • Stability & Continuity – You must provide your child with stability and continuity. This is relevant to your child's emotional and physical well being. You must place the needs of your child first. You must also provide a stable home, bedroom, furniture, toys and books.
  • Relationship with your ex – It is critical that the child’s upbringing remains consistent to avoid the child having to abide by two sets of rules. It is best if the parties can communicate effectively regarding their child. Focus on your life long relationship as parents.
Children under 3 years of age vs over 3 years of age

You must recognize the difference in appropriate custody arrangements for children of under and over 3 years of age. Children under 3 may show signs of distress where their routines are disrupted to any great extent, therefore as much certainty and continuity as possible is crucial to their development. This is especially true for toddlers and infants whose sleeping and feeding patterns are very important. These children require frequent contact with both parents. This will assist the bonding process with each parent. Long gaps of time between visits with each parent is usually not recommended by custody experts at this tender age.

Children over 3 years of age are better able to cope with changing environments and are old enough to begin communicating their own views. Sharing a greater proportion of the care with your ex partner at this time without too much disruption to the children’s lives and also to involve the children in decisions made is often appropriate.

I work full-time, do I have to be a “weekend dad”?

Certainly not. Fathers with a busy job, do not need to be “weekend dads”. You can have a significant share of the care of your child, and our law firm can help you in obtaining a custody arrangement that you desire.

How can I get more contact with my children?
  1. Diary – record in writing issues involving your child and ex. This will assist you in recalling details if the care of your child comes is in dispute.
  2. Remain calm – when emotions are high, you often make rash and wrong decisions which can have far-reaching consequences. Remain clear headed, it is in the best interests of you and your family to do so.
  3. Record your concerns regarding your ex – Take the time to think about those and address them.
  4. Work towards a better relationship – if relations with your children’s mother are strained, do your best to work toward improving the relationship. Focus on your life long relationship as parents. Your children will benefit greatly if this can be achieved.
  5. Meet your obligations – maintain a stable and consistent routine, particularly with the children.
  6. Maintain normality – as well as keeping up a stable routine, you should do your best to keep a sense of normality in the time your children spend with you. This means doing normal everyday activities and not continually treating them to gifts or trips to their favourite places.
  7. Be Involved – Participate as much as you can in your children’s lives. This might include getting more involved with their school and/or any extra-curricular activities such as sport or music.
  8. Make the most of your parenting time – Even if you are not satisfied with the amount of contact you get, make the most of the time you do have with your children. Avoid any displays of resentment toward their mother and focus on enjoying your time together.
  9. Look after yourself – It is in your children’s best interests for you to be healthy and happy. Eat well, communicate well and maintain a positive attitude.
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