When a couple divorce, the starting point for the division of their assets always instigates equality – 50/50. Therefore, why is the same rule of thumb not used when dividing the time spent with the children? It has become the norm’ for mothers to have the children during the week and fathers to be given a designated time at the weekend, and what has become common practice, every other weekend.
Why is this the case?
- The traditional standards of roles within the family mean that women are still considered the primary carer. Considering this is the case for 64% of women and only 34% of men it is arguable we still stand by these notions.
- When divorce arises, it is usually the father who leaves the former matrimonial home. Meaning, in most cases, the children stay within the care of their mother at their home to cause less disruption to their lifestyle. Because of this, Mothers have the advantage of assessing a child’s day to day routine.
- In cases where the parents are unmarried, fathers can be unaware that unless they are named on the birth certificate, they do not hold parental responsibility -who, amid the excitement after the birth of a child, can be something people are quick to forget to include at a later date.
What are the solutions for fathers?
If a disagreement does arise between two parents, there can be no binding review of a child’s living arrangements without an application to the Court or an Arbitrator. Legal help can be sought to determine which application is in the best interest of the children and the family at large. A Shared Residence Order can be made in favour of both parents to specify the period in which the child(ren) would live in the different households.
Alternatively, a Child Arrangements Order can determine who the child is to live with, spend time with or otherwise have contact with. Providing that, the proposed arrangements are in the child’s best interest, there is no preference in law that Fathers should not share care equally.