What is a Shared Care Arrangement?

21 March, 2020 | Smith and Partners

‘Shared care’ is a Family Court term to describe the custody or care arrangements for a child.

When the care of a child is considered ‘shared’ it normally reflects an ‘equal’ or 50/50 type living arrangement for the child.

There are a variety of different shared care models, it is not essential that it is 50/50. However, the idea is normally, that the child or children are spending roughly equal time between both parents.

Sometimes this means that a child may spend one week with Mum, then one week with Dad, on a continuous rotation. This particular model is referred to as a ‘week about’ care arrangement and is one of the more common shared care arrangements you will see.

‘Week about’ may not always be practical, for work commitments of one or both parents or similar reasons. Parents are free to arrive at an arrangement that fits them and the family best, which is always the Family Court’s preference. There can be many different variables to ‘shared care arrangements’.

However, if parents cannot decide on care of their child or children. One or both may apply to the court to have this decided for them. Although a shared care arrangement on the face of it, appears to be the fairest arrangement one can arrive at. The court will be guided by only one thing, and that is what is ‘considered in the best interests and welfare of the child’.

Often, children with parents who live separately will frequently request shared care arrangements, as it feels the fairest to them in their little minds.

However, it must be supported by the factors present in each respective household and what is considered in their best interests. Where parents cannot agree, the court will make that determination based on the information presented to them.

Child support and Work and Income.

Where the custody concerning your child or children is a ‘shared care’ arrangement, it is best to make sure you touch base with Inland Revenue and or Work and Income (whatever may apply) to disclose the arrangement and ensure that their calculations are accurate and fair, based on the care arrangements of the child. As a shared care custody arrangement will affect you and the other parent’s financial obligations and entitlements.

If you wish to negotiate a care arrangement with the other parent of your child or children and need some guidance around reaching a model that fits and is best for the kids, contact our family law experts today.

Do you need to negotiate a shared care arrangement for your children?

Contact our family law experts today.

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