When you should ask for 50/50 shared custody

I can answer this in one word.

Never.

I can categorically state this is the case for a few reasons. They being:

  1. There’s no such things as `custody’. It’s a term that hasn’t had legal meaning since Milli Vanilli were in the charts; if you’re too young to have heard of them that should tell you something.
  2. You’re probably confusing the rights and responsibilities conferred by PR (Parental Responsibility) with where the kid in question spends his or her time.
  3. You may as well tell the court/CAFCASS/social worker/the ex’s solicitor `It’s my right! I’ve got a legal right!‘ Try THAT and see what reaction you’ll get (hint: It’ll probably be one you don’t much like).
  4. Because there is more than one way to skin a cat.

Guys…this is a HUGE red flag. As well as being seen to shout the odds about your rights you’re also demonstrating said rights are more important than the kids (dividing them up like the furniture or the CD collection as the old phrase goes), that you don’t know what you’re actually asking for and that you know nothing about the actual process.

Go ahead, all guns blazing and there is a good chance you’ll be asked all about it when that nice barrister is trying to convince the court that the judge shouldn’t make an order for that by asking you questions that’ll make you look nasty, selfish, stupid or hopefully (for him/her) all three. You’re making it easy for them (or me if I am helping your ex).

With this in mind the `take homes’ from this post are simple:

  1. Learn the terminology. It’s not about custody’ these days. It’s not even about residence’. It’s about `Who the child lives with’. They are just about the same thing, true – but you want your message to be clear and not open to (wilful) misinterpretation.
  2. Understand division of time and PR are like chalk and cheese. Where a child spends his/her time has absolutely nothing to do with rights and responsibilities under PR.
  3. Prove what you want is in the best interests of the child. The most common thing parents say when asked why this is the case is `Because it will show the kids both parents are equal’. The court won’t accept this. Don’t waste your time saying it. Seriously.
  4. Be patient. If this is your ultimate goal understand that it will take time – especially if there is no contact at all now.

I’m not saying I don’t think shared parenting is a good idea. Quite the opposite. But if this is going to be happen, avoid the obvious pitfalls. There are enough of those without making basic mistakes.

Comments
  • rob says:

    From having my sons and her son (Braiden)for 2 years every weekend and every Wednesday night (all night) Then changed to every 2nd weekend due to never having a break .(have 3 kids in our care permanently) also 1 full week every school holidays.
    23% custody for 1 year, and 13% for a year Centrelink was not informed by her and she still collected full payment.
    As well as myself buying thousands of dollars of stuff for my sons over there life span and having 23% custody I was still charged full rate from child support.
    After we separated
    Paid $1800 off Bronwyn’s radio rentals bill
    Paid an $4200 electricity bill in her name
    Maintained her backyard so kids had area to play
    Helped her move house, (wile my partner and I were moving as well)
    Pulled down a large shed in her yard she said she wanted to keep at first but then didn’t want it when she moved.
    Gave her a $1000 target cubby house for the boys
    Bought $500 worth of clothes in Melbourne and gave them to her for the boys all 3 boys Braiden as well
    Picked up and delivered a tonne of blended loam for her garden beds (favour)
    While together (sold her car for $1000) we both spent the money) after separation, bought her a $2500 car to replace her car VT commodore sedan, sat in her driveway for 12 months then she sold it for $1000
    During our relationship I was charged with domestic violence and property damage “how it started” ( we argued she threw food at me then slapped me across the face , I slapped her back , she then pushed me from behind through a front screen door on my way out , breaking the door , then call the police and had me charged .
    Had an avo put on me with conditions not to see her or the kids , Easter that year , she told me to drop Easter eggs of too boys , so I did and left , when I returned home I was arrested for breach of conditions (she set me up using the kids)
    Took the boys to the Whyalla show 2 years in a row, (she said it was a waste of money and couldn’t afford it anyway) seen her at the show with her cousin same night,(prior to moving to industrial area.)
    06/02/17 Bronwyn got a new boyfriend ( 2nd one in 6 months) was told by her previous boyfriend (Robbie Holmes ) told me he left her because she never controlled the kids , left it up to him , gives them computer games to shut them up when naughty .
    08/03/17 Moved into new property (industrial area)
    3 bedrooms all reverse cycle air cons in all rooms , all have hard wired smoke alarms , full kitchen , laundry , shower (gas) , I stay on the property with my partner and 2 step daughters and my 6 month old daughter .
    My partner baby sits kids here, other parents let their kids stay here over night for sleep overs.
    Bronwyn stated, No access aloud any more , no more weekends or Wednesdays, no day time visits, not to come to dad’s house anymore at all.
    You can have them back as normal if you’re in a proper residential property.(Bronwyn’s statement)
    Not allowed to have them by myself without her present, if I want to see them I have to go to her house and see them.
    Have recording of Riley and Tyler (by Phone), saying, mum said you live in a bad place.
    Did not inform me that Riley was being put on Methamphetamine for ADHD, I would not have aloud it , mother said she put him on it because she couldn’t handle him.
    Have No say in what school or kindy they go to, am not told anything at all about their school grades , sports days swimming lessons birthday parties ect.
    Have rang and messaged every night to tell our boys good night since start , also send photos every day to show boys what dad has been doing at work .
    Am asked all the time by boys why they can’t come see dad.
    01/01/15 Riley escaped from Kindy, ended up 5 blocks away in a park, police were called, Bronwyn didn’t tell me until 2 days later
    09/04/17 My birthday, asked to see the boys, was told NO there not coming to that shed.
    22/05/17 took the boys to the circus, had an argument with her and her partner after the show (I told her partner to step over here and fight me), in the argument Bronwyn stated that they were her kids and she will do what she wants.
    04/06/17 asked if I could have the boys on the Sunday to take them to the rec centre, NO reply, 4 messages all ignored.
    10/06/17 my partner Cassandra may, bought $200 worth of clothes for the boys, they never got to use them.
    18/06/17 day before my youngest sons birthday , I left a message (sms) 730am, 1130am ,4pm 520pm asking what was happening for our sons birthday tomorrow 10/06/17 , no reply , seen photos on Facebook she had a party for him that day 18/06/17 , ignored my messages , didn’t even tell me it was happening .
    19/06/17 went to mother’s house to give my son his birthday present (had to give it to him out the front of her house)
    20/06/17 I asked if I could have my 2 sons the next weekend at Wilson Park to do a little party for my youngest that we missed out on together, Answer 2 days later, NO.
    22/06/17 messaged Bronwyn, asked to have boys on the weekend at Wilson Park, her reply, NO but can have a supervised visit at Beach Park.
    25/06/17 after getting NO reply from Bronwyn, she attended Wilson park with her boyfriend and her parents, apparently sat there 2 hours waiting for me, she did not message me to tell me she was going there, and she did not message me the time she was there (She set me up to look bad for not attending) , ( went there but didn’t tell me , now I’m the bad one for not attending something I didn’t know about)
    26/06/17 Riley had swimming lessons at pool , I was not told or invited to see my son in lessons , Bronwyn invited her brother and cousin to come along , (her cousin posted photos online)
    27/06/17 I asked to have the boys for the day on the weekend , now she says not unless she stays and watches me with her boyfriend , (her words were , “she does not want me slagging her to the boys while she’s not there so she has to be there at all times)
    28/06/17 $470 in child support was paid, (Now 4 months I have not had my sons in my care.)Also bought them a PS4 and games for my place $500, which they have not yet seen.
    29/0617 Decided to give up the industrial yard and move again just so I can have a chance at having my sons again, only been here 4 months. , told Bronwyn this but no reply. She originally told me if I move back to a normal house I could have them again.
    29/06/17 my partner sent a message to Bronwyn asking her if I can have the boys on the Saturday coming, at my house for the day, (answer was NO he will slag me off to the boys so no , he can see them in my front yard under my supervision in case he slags me of to the boys (boys always ask me why they can’t come see dad and my reply ALLWAYS was ask mum , nothing more, (my partner can verify )
    Now from previous messages that I was told by Bronwyn I could have my boys again if I move back into a residential property( now 3 months ago) , now she tells me I can’t have them anymore because she does not want me slagging her to the boys .
    28/05/17 Applied for legal aid, mediation was set for the 07/06/17, 02/07/17 was messaged and told mediation is now to be postponed.
    02/07/17 in the last week a total of $661 has been deducted from our business account, leaving us with nothing, they depleted every cent we had.
    Its now been nearly 5 months since iv had my sons , iv seen them in total about 5 time for 5 minutes , once at beach park for an hour or so , I truly don’t know what iv done to deserve this and I truly don’t know what my sons have done to deserve this , they are missing out to , missing out on seeing their father , who equally wants to see them and be in there life .
    05/07/17 I rang Riley’s school and arranged for school reports to be sent to me as well , as I don’t get them and Bronwyn never shows me , also found out today Bronwyn is now collaborating with one of my ex-girlfriends Leila Walden , who has been slandering my name my business partners name and our business name all over Facebook (which could also result in loss of work for us) .
    07/07/17 I messaged Bronwyn and asked if I could take the boys to see despicable me 3 at the cinema during the holidays some time, she messaged my partner back and said there’s no point they have seen it already.
    09/07/17 asked Bronwyn if I could see the boys down the beach park, she agreed, came with her boyfriend, brother and cousin, spend about 30 minutes with the boys because it was cold and we had our baby girl with us and left.
    11/07/17 found out today from one of Bronwyn’s good friends my 2 sons had ring worms about 2 weeks ago and once again see failed in telling me , (while I’m at it ) , I also didn’t even have a say in Tyler’s name either .
    14/07/17 asked Bronwyn to see the boys Sunday and take them to the bowling ally , she replied no I’m taking them to port Pirie (which she never told me ) then asked if I could see them Saturday and take them to the bowling ally , she replied no I have surprise coming for them tomorrow.
    Then asked if I could see them next week at the bowling ally , she replied thumbs up and then went on to say I can only see them there if she and Morgan are there to supervise my visit because I might slag her to the boys , I replied “once again I have never done this nor would I “ but if you insist .
    ( I find myself getting further and further away from my sons , they spend that much time with Bronwyn and Morgan that they seem to be drifting away from me , its now been 10 weeks since I was granted legal aid and I’m still no closer to having my sons , I feel the system is letting me down as a father .)
    19/07/17 I had a friend of my partner seen my 2 sons with Bronwyn’s cousin yesterday in target buying them toys , once again I find my sons being watched by a just 18 year old boy yet Im not to see them without her present .
    23/07/17 went to the bowling alley to meet the boys , Bronwyn arrived with the boys about 1:10pm
    We played a game while Bronwyn and her partner watched us, riley asked if he could come with me and come past my house and get his pokie ball, I had to say no, there’s not enough room in the car, because Bronwyn won’t let me have then unsupervised by her, and if I tell him that she won’t let me see them at all, so I had to lie to my son to keep her happy

    I want to take her to court for 50/50 custody but i take it now that’s not a good idea :(.

    • Steven says:

      Not saying it’s a bad idea at all. I’m just saying be careful not to be tarnished with the `You’re just doing this because it’s about your rights’ argument. Shared care should be the norm IMHO – but does it need to be 50/50 exactly? Why not 60/40? Or why the other parent being the primary carer?

      My point is that you could be playing into the hands of those who oppose 50/50.

      I caveat this by saying I specialise in English & Welsh law – and as you’re elsewhere there are different laws. I would say to be careful about mentioning money however. Here at least there is no link between contact and finance and you need to be careful to keep them separate.

  • Jonny says:

    Can you explain more please what are we meant to do??

    • Steven says:

      I’m not saying go for shared parenting – to be honest it’s something I think should be a default when it comes to separated parents. It absolutely should happen unless one parent has proven it isn’t in the best interests of the child.

      My point is that using the term `50/50 shared parenting’ shows you don’t actually know what you’re asking for and there is a good chance that whoever doesn’t want that to happen will try to use that against you (and is often successful in doing so for this reason). It’s a red flag to ask for an exactly equal share of time – I think most people would be hard pressed to say this is absolutely the best interests of the child (and as I say…the courts don’t swallow the `It shows the parents are equally important’ argument).

      So with this in mind work out if a 50/50 is the only thing you are willing to settle for. If so be prepared to explain why this is in the best interests of the child. And regardless of what it is you want ordered by the time the final hearing rolls around be aware that asking for 50/50 when you have no (or minimal) contact will likely not be entertained at all.

  • Mitch says:

    This sounds like classic Parental Alienation. I’m so sorry to hear about it all.

    A lot of it is clearly about control in that your ex is wanting to control you. She is sure Sible ell mad at you.

    You’re doing the thing documenting everything. I might even suggest videoing the visits and record all calls. And never, ever be anything other than a picture of reasonableness. May be hard to do but not impossible

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