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NSW Family Law - Who Becomes the Primary Carer of My Son?

Discussion in 'Family Law Forum' started by Kavita Sharma, 10 June 2015.

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  1. Kavita Sharma

    Kavita Sharma Member

    10 June 2015
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    My husband and I are going through separation. It is nearing mediation date, and I am preparing a proposal. Could I please ask, who automatically becomes the primary carer of my son who is 2.5 years old under family law? I have no violence history or anything like that.
  2. AllForHer

    AllForHer Well-Known Member

    23 July 2014
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    Neither party is the automatic primary carer for a child following separation, that is a question for the parties to decide. It's a common misconception that there are laws governing how the family unit operates, but in truth, family laws only apply if the parties can't reach agreement. As such, the law has nothing to say about who the child lives with following separation. To the contrary, it expects the parents will be able to make that decision for themselves and by mutual agreement.

    I understand that trying to develop a reasonable proposal can be challenging - emotions are high, it's hard to know how the child will respond, and you now have two routines to try and accommodate.

    To help, there are some starting points you could consider.

    If the child has a good relationship with both parties, then it's best to continue a pattern of care that enables the child to spend time with the parents frequently. At 2.5 years of age, psychologists have found that children respond better to shorter visits more frequently, such as a 2/2/3 cycle. If conflict is very high between the parties, though, it's best to keep changeovers that involve interaction between the parties to a minimum as it's the conflict, rather than the divorce itself, that has the most impact on a child. Changeovers at day care, for example, are a good way to limit the exposure to conflict. Also, consider how you'll facilitate the child enjoying holidays and special occasions with each party - will you alternate between Christmas Day and Boxing Day each year, or do a changeover at, say, midday each Christmas?

    Anyway, I hope this gives you some things to think about when developing your proposal. Do your utmost to avoid court proceedings as that's where any chance of an amicable parenting relationship tends to evaporate, to the detriment of the child. Good luck.

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