As discussed in my
previous blog, the Court will make arrangements for any child
based on its determination of what is in the best interests of that
The Family Law Court ("the Court") recognises the
period from birth to four years old is an important developmental
stage for any child. The Court in making Parenting Orders often
turn their mind to attachment theory, a social science concept that
a child has a primary attachment to someone that provides that
child with a sense of security and comfort (their mother, father or
grandparents). The Court is aware young children cannot monitor and
control their emotions and rely heavily on their primary attachment
figure for the attention they need to feel loved, secure and
Research also holds that a child can have more than one primary
attachment figure, if the child has a regular and predicable
contact with those figures. The Court takes these factors into
consideration and where there is more than one primary attachment,
the Court may look at arrangements that provide for the child to
spend regular time with both parents in any Orders made, including
overnight time . In these cases smaller, more frequent periods of
time may be ordered for young children.
This ensures the child will not be away from either parent for
extended periods of time, as young children do not understand the
concept of "tomorrow" or "goodbye" and can
become quite anxious as they do not understand why the other parent
has left them and do not know when they will see them again.
Research indicates that young children often establish an image
of their primary figure that they can pull out for comfort when
they are separated from them. This concept is important for young
children who are living in two (or more) households as the research
indicates a child needs to spend enough time with each parent to be
able to establish the image and maintain it. For this reason the
Court implements frequent changeovers so that the child is able to
maintain the images they have of and the attachment they have with
Organising parenting arrangements for your young child can be
difficult as there are many factors to be taken into account. A
Family Law Specialist can provide advice as to appropriate
arrangements for your current situation.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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