If you are a recently divorced or separated father, you may wonder how often fathers get 50 50 custody in Australia. It is typically believed that fathers have limited custody rights to their children when compared to the mother. However, this is not true in modern times. This article will discuss fathers’ custody rights compared to the mother and the factors the Courts will consider in determining custody arrangements.
Dispelling The Myth That The Court Favours The Mother
Suppose you are finding yourself asking the question of ‘how often do fathers get 50 50 custody’. In that case, the chances are you believe that custody arrangements, or parental responsibility as it is referred to in Australia, favours the mother. In reality, The Courts do not favour either mother or father. This is simply an outdated notion that is not true any longer in modern times. However, there are some typical instances where the Courts will favour the mother. These are when:
Family violence is involved: This can be either physical or psychological abuse directed to either the mother or the children. These will both weigh against a father obtaining a 50 50 custody arrangement
The kids have a greater bond with the mother: This is quite common because of stereotypical gender roles, which are still prevalent in modern society. That is where the father works, and the mother stays home and looks after the children. Clearly, in such cases, the result is that a greater bond has formed between a child and mother. The Courts will accordingly be hesitant to separate the child from the mother because of this bond.
If the roles were reversed in both of these scenarios and all other aspects are equal, it is essential to remember that the Courts would favour the father.
Fathers Custody Rights & Equal Shared Parental Responsibility
Equal shared parental responsibility is the legal starting point for the Courts when determining disputes involving parenting arrangements. It is essentially the standard that applies at the beginning of parenting arrangement disputes. Practically, it means the Court considers it in the children’s best interests that both parents will get 50 50 custody of the children. This is so that the children can have a meaningful relationship with both parents, reflected in s61DA of the Family Law Act (1975). There are multiple factors that the Courts consider in determining whether or not the presumption should not apply in deciding parenting arrangements. These factors can weigh in favour or against either parent.
When Does The Court Not Apply Equal Shared Parental Responsibility?
The most significant determinant in answering how often fathers get 50 50 custody will hinge on what is legally known as the child’s best interests. These factors include:
- The benefit of the child having a meaningful relationship with both of their parents;
- The need to protect the children from being exposed to any forms of violence, physical harm and psychological harm;
- Where the school of the child is and the practical nature of taking the child to and from school;
- The opinions and views of the child, in consideration of their level of understanding, age and maturity;
- The time each parent spends with the child and the resulting bonds formed amongst the parent and the child;
- The impact of the parenting arrangements on the well-being of the child;
- The practicality of the shared parenting arrangement;
- The physical distance between each parent; and
- The willingness and ability of the parents to facilitate an ongoing relationship with one another for the children’s benefit
Assuming all these factors are equal or not impactful enough to be heavily in favour of one parent, the Court will likely consider a 50 50 shared parental responsibility arrangement acceptable. However, in reality, all it takes is for one of these factors to weigh in favour of one side. In that case, the Court to consider it in the children’s best interests to award one party a greater degree of custody rights.
Do I Have To Go To Court To Get 50 50 Custody?
You are not required to go to Court to determine a parenting arrangement. You and your partner can informally agree to a suitable parenting arrangement amongst yourselves. Alternatively, you may wish to proceed to a mediation session, where a neutral third-party mediator will assist you both in reaching a compromise. However, these modes of resolution are not without their drawbacks. Unlike Court-ordered parenting arrangements, nothing is stopping the other parent from not abiding by the agreement.
Importance of Seeking Legal Advice
When discussing matters such as ‘how often do fathers get 50 50 custody?’ it is essential that you remember that not every situation will be the same. It is up to the Court to determine what custody arrangements are in the child’s best interests. This is why you must seek the guidance of an experienced family lawyer to help advise you on the prospects of your matter.
Here at JB Solicitors, we’ll make the process as pain-free as possible. We have fixed-fee pricing for family law, giving you a clear sense of the costs from the start, and we will be sure to help you out every step of the way. With years of experience under our belt, we pride ourselves on making each client’s family law experience as positive as possible.
Contact JB Solicitors today to speak with one of our friendly and experienced family lawyers.
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