Why might you need a Shared Care Order?
Shared Care Orders have symbolic importance because the wording puts parents on an equal footing. A Child Arrangements Order states that a child will ‘live with’ one parent and ‘spend time with’ the other, which can make the latter parent feel less important. Although, in reality, parents share equal parental responsibility for their child, this wording can influence how each parent perceives their role.
With a Child Arrangements Order, the parent the child lives with can take a child out of the country for less than a month without seeking the other parent’s consent. However, the parent the child ‘spends time with’ must seek permission from the other. When a Shared Care Order is in place parents are equal because neither parent can take their child out of the country without the written consent of the other.
However, it is important to note that the court can add a direction in a Child Arrangements Order, which specifically states that both parents may take their child out of the country for less than a month without having to obtain written permission from the other.
Since the court can remove any unwanted consequences of a Child Arrangements Order, the main function of a Shared Care Order is the principle. The wording of a Shared Care Order challenges traditional thinking about a mother’s and father’s roles in their child’s life and highlights that both parents have equal status.