Joint legal custody is the most common custody arrangement granted by courts. Why is that? One of the most significant advantages of joint custody is that a child will grow up with influence and input from both parents.
In Australia, the most common child custody arrangement is joint custody or shared care, which promotes shared parental responsibility and equal or substantial time spent with each parent.
Joint Legal Custody
This is the type of custody the courts prefer to rule on, as long as it's in the best interest of the children. The benefit of joint legal custody is that the children get to grow up with equal influence from both parents.
Child's Best Interests: While 50-50 custody may be suitable for many families, it may not always be the optimal solution in cases involving family violence, abuse, or situations where it would not serve the child's best interests.
How often do fathers get 50 50 custody? According to the Australian Institute of Family Studies Fathers get 50 50 custody around 21% of the time. Only 3% of court-ordered parenting agreements involve no contact between children and their father, compared with 9% of the general separated population.
The most common arrangement is that the mother takes 66-84% custody of the child or children, while the father takes 14-34%.
Historically, women have always had the upper hand in being awarded child custody. Statistics show that women win child custody rights a staggering 90% of the time , even though fathers play an important role in their children's lives pre and post-divorce.
The Family Law Act 1975 in Australia doesn't provide a defined age when a child can single-handedly choose which parent they want to reside with. Contrary to common belief, there isn't a specific age, such as 12 or 14, when a child can make this decision.
Whilst Australia does not require a child to spend equal time with each parent, many families do choose a 50/50 schedule, such as one of the following. 2-2-3 schedule: This has the child spend two days with one parent, the following two days with the other parent, then three days with the start parent.
In Australia, if you and the other parent cannot come to an agreement on custody, then either parent can apply to the court for a custodial order. Before making a decision, the court will need to be satisfied that such an order is in the best interests of the child.
50/50 custody is a joint custody arrangement in which children spend time equally with each parent. This arrangement can benefit the children and co-parents. It can provide stability and deeper bonds with each parent. But the co-parents must coordinate well and live near each other.
The most popular custody schedules are 'Every Other Weekend', '3-2-2', 'Every Other Weekend Plus a Mid-Week Visit' and 'Week About'.
A 50/50 schedule helps kids to feel secure that both parents are fully involved and keeps them close and engaged with both of their parents, without ever feeling like a visitor in one parent's life.
Each parent has sole custody of one or more children, and the other parent has it for the remaining children. Split custody is the least common type of arrangement.
Whether the parent has fulfilled their duty to maintain the child/children, financially or otherwise; The attitudes of each parent; The maturity, sex, lifestyle, background, culture, and traditions of the child/children and the parents; and. If there is family violence and/or a family violence order.
In Australia, the courts strive to achieve 'equal shared parental responsibility', which refers to both parents making decisions about their children's future. Having this shared responsibility in mind is important when thinking about the mother vs father custody statistics in Australia.
The most common arrangement for parents with children, is what is known as substantial and significant time. This means that the child lives with one parent, and spends 3 – 5 nights per fortnight with the other parent.
There is no set geographical distance dictating exactly how far away you can move with your child, but but if that distance is deemed to significantly affect the other parent's ability to have a meaningful relationship with the child, then the court will need to establish if the move is in the child's best interests.
Violence or abuse, whether physical, emotional, or sexual, is one of the most serious reasons why a mother may lose custody. If the court determines that a mother has subjected her children to violence or abuse, she may lose custody, or her custody arrangements may be changed.
Abuse or Neglect: A parent may be deemed unfit for custody if there is evidence of abuse or neglect towards the child. Australian law strongly condemns any form of physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, as well as neglect that puts the child's well-being at risk.
Best interests of the child
If parents still can't agree, a judge in a family law court will make a decision. The judge's decision will be based on the best interests of the child in accordance with the Family Law Act.
What law applies when a child refuses to see a parent? When a child under the age of 18 refuses to see a parent in Australia a number of laws apply. Generally a child has no legal right to decide on their parenting arrangements, meaning they must abide by the decisions of the court and/or their parents.
Each family is unique and reasonable access for fathers depends on the individual circumstances. Some fathers see their children every day, while others might see them just once a month. Parents might share responsibilities and alternate weekend contact, or some fathers may have weekend contact every week.
But the statistics go deeper than that: Not only does the mother get custody of the children more often, the parents agree in more than half the cases (51%) that the mother should have custody.
Parental alienation is a strategy whereby one parent intentionally displays to the child unjustified negativity aimed at the other parent. The purpose of this strategy is to damage the child's relationship with the other parent and to turn the child's emotions against that other parent.