Greg and Donna had recently separated, and had a 21 month old daughter Holly. Donna had been Holly’s primary caregiver throughout the relationship and it was agreed that Holly would continue to live with Donna. However, Greg had played a very active parenting role, and wanted this to continue. When Greg first approached us he was concerned as to how he could spend significant time with Holly on a practical basis, taking into account that he was working full time. The parties had maintained an amicable relationship and had been arranging time for Greg to spend with Holly by agreement since separation; however, Greg now sought the consistency of a formal agreement.
We discussed with Greg that his time with Holly should be appropriate based on her age, and suggested an arrangement whereby his time with Holly increased as she got older. We discussed that with children as young as Holly the preference was towards more regular time for shorter periods of time; and as she got older, her time with him could be for longer periods of time spaced further apart. Along with Greg we drafted a proposal whereby Holly would spend time with Greg on a gradually increasing basis over a number of years until Holly was to start school. This proposal took into account Holly’s need not to disrupt the bond with her primary caregiver, and also allowed her to maintain and further develop her relationship with her father.
Geoff was satisfied that this arrangement created consistency for Holly, whilst gradually increasing time would minimise distress for Holly.
As Greg and Donna had been able to maintain a good relationship following separation, Geoff believed that it was best that he discuss this proposal with Donna personally. Greg thereafter elected to enter into a parenting plan, which had been agreed with Donna. The benefit of choosing a parenting plan over consent orders was the flexibility, able to be changed easily as circumstances changed. Greg and Donna wanted the ability to alter the agreement if required, and agreed to review the agreement once Holly started school to determine whether the arrangement was still appropriate for both themselves and Holly.
For further information or assistance please contact Sarah Bevan Family Lawyers.
All names and identifying features have been changed for privacy reasons in our case studies. These case studies only have basic detail in them, and you should always bear in mind that every case is unique. These case studies are examples only, and cannot be applied to your circumstances without consideration of all relevant facts.