A recent report on Channel Ten’s ‘The Project’ explored the concept of parental equality and the manner in which fathers have historically been cast as the secondary parent.
However, it is important to note that this social perception is not necessarily followed by the Family Court when deciding parenting matters.
After amendments to the Family Law Act in 2006, in parenting cases where there is no risk of child abuse, the Court is required to apply a presumption of equal shared parental responsibility as its starting point.
From this premise, the Court then considers the ‘reasonable practicality’ of a child/children spending equal time with both parents to allow them to maintain a meaningful relationship with both mum and dad.
If equal time is not practical for the children, the Court then takes into account a regime which sees children spending ‘substantial and significant time’ with the parent with whom they do not live. Often this may include both weekend and after school care to enable each parent to enjoy all aspects of the child’s routine.
So while some may ‘Homer Simpson-ise’ a father’s role as being less hands on than that of a mother, this is generally not the Court’s approach.
If you require advice in relation to parenting and children’s matters following separation, please do not hesitate to contact our Family Law Team.