When parents separate, there is no right or wrong when it comes to deciding on the future parenting arrangements for children. What works for your friend might not work for you.
Most people typically have a perception that “joint custody” means spending equal time with your children. In Australia, the term “custody” has been phased out and as such, it is not a term that is regularly used by those working in the modern family law arena.
Instead, we use terminology such as “parental responsibility”, which describes a parent’s ability to make major decisions about their children’s long-term care, welfare and development. Rather than “custody”, we use expressions such as “live with” and/or “spend time with” to describe children’s living arrangements.
Just because you are now separated does not mean that you have to move straight away to a “week about” arrangement or similar equal time arrangement. It is about making sure your children’s best interests are met and that they feel comfortable and secure in their routine. If you are the primary caregiver of a very young child, chances are that your child will be distraught upon leaving your care for long periods of time. Of course, the older your child grows and develops, the easier he or she will be able to separate from you to spend time with the other parent.