An equal time arrangement for children is typically called a “week about” arrangement. That arrangement involves the children spending one full week with one parent and then one full week with the other parent on an ongoing basis. Sometimes an equal time arrangement may take other forms across a fortnight or month arrangement such as the children spending Monday to Thursday with one parent and Friday to Sunday with the other.
When deciding on child custody arrangements, the primary consideration should be the best interests of the child. How will the children cope spending a week away from the other parent and the shifts in household over the school term? Is the arrangement reasonably practical and are both parents able to communicate with each other?
If your matter progresses to the Court, the Court may consider some of the following when deciding whether child custody should be equal in your family.
Factors in Favour of Equal Time
- Children who are older and with sufficient maturity to cope
- Parents who live in close proximity
- Parents who can communicate well
- Children who do not have significant primary attachments to one parent
- Where there are no issues of risk such as family violence, drug and alcohol abuse or mental health issues
Factors Weighing Against Equal Time
- Where the parents cannot communicate
- Where the parents have very different parenting styles
- The disorganisation that week about arrangements bring
- The significance of primary attachments in younger children
- High conflict families
- Where there are issues of risk such as family violence, drug and alcohol abuse or mental health issues
Speak to one of our child custody lawyers today to either crystallise your equal time arrangement or to discuss alternatives.