Good communication essential for equal shared care?

hands woman expresses the concept of family

A new appeals case relating to parenting has thrown some doubt on the importance of communication between parents when considering an equal care arrangement. An equal shared care arrangement is where the children spend equal time with each parent usually on a week about basis. Courts are required to consider whether equal time is in the best interests of the children if the parents are granted equal share parental responsibility. However, it is has been the general view of Judges that this type of arrangement is not appropriate in situations where the communication between the parents is poor.

This new appeals case of Keehan & Keehan [2015] FamCAFC 122 (25 June 2015) found no error with the Trial Judge’s view that the children were 16 and 14 so therefore communication between the parents was ‘not essential’. In some parenting matters that are contentious the court will order that a family report be prepared. The whole family attend a court appointed psychologist to assess the relationship, speak with each member and make recommendations to the Court.

In this case, the view of the family report writer was that communication between the parents was not essential given the ages of the children. The Trial Judge agreed and the Appeals Court did not find any error.