With child abuse very much on our minds at the moment, it is timely to look at the new definitions of parenthood used in the Family Court.
The terms “custody and access” are gone and replaced with the new words “parenting order" and "access order”. It was believed that the former terms implied ownership and control of children but these new badges are very similar.
However, there is a greater willingness by the Family Court today to recognise the importance of an equal role being provided by each separated parent in the interests and welfare of children despite the fact that one will have a "parenting order" and the other will have a “contact order".
But the overarching or umbrella concept of parenting lies in the word “Guardianship”. A guardian is someone our law recognises as having all the duties, rights, responsibilities and powers to bring up and nurture a child. It is an overall concept superseding basic pragmatic decisions about who looks after the child on a daily basis or who has contact. Decisions on residence, schooling, medical treatment, religion and name changing are important matters of guardianship.
We can recall a case where there was no dispute as to day-to-day caring and weekend contact but Mum did not want Dad t
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