Equal or Substantial – Which Time Division Is Better For Children From Separated Families?
Custody battles are never pleasant. When a couple goes through separation, the children are usually the ones who get impacted the most. In addition to being forced to share their parents’ love, they end up being divided when it comes to spending time with them as well.
In cases of severe disputes, the family court is called upon to decide how much time the child will spend with each parent. More often than not, one of the two strategies – equal time or substantial and significant time – are followed.
But which of these approaches is better? To decide, understanding both approaches is the first step.
What does Equal Time mean?
As the name suggests, equal time means that the child can spend 50% of his/her time with one parent and 50% with the other. When the court makes an order that parents have equal shared responsibility, it has to consider the following things:
- Will it be in the best interest of the child?
- Will it be reasonably practical for the child?
If both conditions seem satisfied, the court issues an order for the child to spend equal time with each of the parents. But if any of the above conditions aren’t fulfilled, and yet both parents have equal responsibility, the court issues an order for the child to spend substantial and significant time with each of them.
What does Substantial & Significant Time mean?
Substantial and significant time means that the child can spend more than 50% of his/her time with one parent and less than 50% with another. When making this decision, the court has to consider the following things:
- The time the child spends with the parent should include the days that fall on weekends or holidays
- It should allow the respective parent to be a part of the kid’s routine activities as well as those occasions that are significant for the kid
- It should allow the child to be involved in the occasions that are significant to the parent.
The catch here is that even when one parent has substantial and significant time over the other, they are equally responsible for their children.
Is one approach better than the other?
Actually, no! Each approach has its own pros and cons, and which applies better to which situation depends on several factors.
Before the court orders a decision in favor of equal time or substantial and significant time, it has to ensure that the parents have equal shared responsibility. What this means is that both the parents share the identical responsibility to take major decisions in the child’s life: schooling, religion, their living place, to name a few.
To sum it up
Your relationship with your spouse might not have worked that well, but your parenting can still succeed. With proper communication and understanding, you as co-parents can assure a bright future for your children.
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