find the latest legal job
Senior Associate - Litigation & Dispute Resolution
Category: Litigation and Dispute Resolution | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Come work for a firm ranked in Lawyers Weekly Top 25 Attraction Firms
View details
Associate - Workplace Relations & Safety
Category: Industrial Relations and Employment Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Employer of choice · Strong team culture
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Banking and Finance Law | Location: All Perth WA
· Freelance opportunities through Vario from Pinsent Masons
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Adelaide SA
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Equal time arrangements need to go

Equal time arrangements need to go

Shared parenting laws should be changed to remove the legislative requirement to consider equal time arrangements, according to an accredited family law specialist. In his paper "Parenting Laws…

Shared parenting laws should be changed to remove the legislative requirement to consider equal time arrangements, according to an accredited family law specialist.

In his paper "Parenting Laws - is there a case for reform?", family lawyer Paul Boers from Craddock Murray Neumann Lawyers, drew upon recent social science research examining the impact on children of shared parenting laws, which came into effect in 2006, and outlined why the current legislation needs to be reformed.

Boers argued that the legislative requirement for considering an equal time arrangement should be removed altogether, unless it has been requested by one of the parents. He proposes that the child's specific needs should serve as a starting point.

"One particularly concerning finding is that families where violence had occurred were no less likely to have shared care time arrangements imposed than those where violence had not occurred, for various reasons which the legislation does not adequately address," Boers said.

"The legislation should be amended to require consideration of different types of family violence and their impact on the child, as well as developmental considerations and the impact on children of ongoing inter-parental conflict."

According to Boers, many professionals in the family law system believe negotiation and litigation over parenting arrangements has become more focused on parents' rights, rather that the needs of the children. In particular, Boers notes that since the reforms were introduced, there has been an increase in the number of children living in shared care time arrangements in circumstances of high conflict.

"One of the problems with the legislation is the way in which equal shared parenting responsibility is perceived to be linked to care time by some in the community," Boers said. "To put it simply, more time with either parent does not necessarily equate to better outcomes for children."

According to Boers, the research, conducted by Professor Richard Chisholm, Dr Jennifer McIntosh, Federal Magistrate Dr Tom Altobelli and the Australian Institute of Family Studies, indicates three general scenarios in which equal time arrangements can be detrimental to children's wellbeing and development. This includes situations where there are high levels of inter-parental conflict, a history of some type of family violence and when very young children are forming their primary attachments.

The complexity of the legislation, according to Boers, obscures the best interests of the child and leads to increased difficulties for professionals working with parents to achieve child focused arrangements. He said cases are taking longer to prepare, judgments are more complex and parents are finding it more difficult to understand what the law actually says.

"Shifting our focus back to the needs of the child can only result in improved outcomes for children whose parents have separated."


Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Equal time arrangements need to go
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Scales of Justice, ALA, right-to-die law
Oct 24 2017
‘Right-to-die’ laws would be a relief for terminally ill: ALA
The passage of an assisted dying bill through the lower house of Victorian Parliament has been haile...
Diversity
Oct 24 2017
Diversity top of agenda for future WA Law Society president
The advancement of diversity in the Western Australian legal profession will be one of the key items...
Jetski
Oct 23 2017
How to fail well
The legal profession is due for an attitude adjustment when it comes to perceived failures, accordin...
APPOINTMENTS
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
opinion
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
Help
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...