Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Thoughts on Equal Time Shared Care

Equal time shared care is just another thing for parents to argue about and not really about the welfare of children. The biggest obstacle to parents sharing caring 50:50 after separation is the absence of shared care 50:50 before separation* and that is because of the working practices in the UK. Most men with dependent children work in full time inflexible jobs where as around 60% of women with dependent children in the UK don't work or work in part time lower paid flexible jobs to fit around childcare.** Countries with more equal opportunities have higher employment rates among women, more shared care before parents separate and higher estimated rates of shared care 50:50 after separation. 

"Residence," "contact" and "shared residence" are terms that leave parents with a sense of winning or losing and make it difficult to negotiate or mediate arrangements.***  Parental Responsibility and Rights means  legally  both parents already have equal responsibility and rights to carry out those responsibilities. I think  education explaining this to separated parents, encouraging them  to put the needs of their children first and giving them strategies for dealing with conflict is the way to go.

Continuity of care is important "it is generally  accepted that the preservation of the status quo operates for the benefit of the child ... " Family Law In Scotland - Joe Thomson 

**  Focus On Gender 2008

*** "We recommend government should develop a child arrangements order, which would set out arrangements for the upbringing of a child when court determination of disputes related to the care of children is required. The new order would move away from loaded terms such as residence and contact which have themselves become a source of contention between parents, to bring greater focus on practical issues of the day to day care of the child…"  Family Justice Review


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