I can answer this in one word.
I can categorically state this is the case for a few reasons. They being:
- 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.
- You’re probably confusing the rights and responsibilities conferred by PR (Parental Responsibility) with where the kid in question spends his or her time.
- 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).
- 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.