Is using child care a problem?
Separated parents often have very different parenting styles which can cause conflict. One common example of this is when one parent utilises child care or after school care and the other parent is available to care for the child at those times. The question from parents is usually “why should a stranger care for my child, when I can do it?”. What does the court say?
Recently, the court considered this argument, on an interim basis, involving a 3 year old child. The father said the mother was using day care as she needed to work. He had re-partnered and had flexible work arrangements. The father, also, could rely on assistance from his partner when needed to care for the child.
The court noted that at an interim hearing, it had limited scope to consider evidence and must make orders that are in a child’s ‘best interests’, without deciding on disputed facts. There was no evidence before the court that the child, who had previously lived primarily with the mother, was not flourishing, and this included her being in child care for periods.
The court made interim orders for the child to live with the mother and spend time with the father. The court noted that use of child care was common in modern Australia, stating:
“The issues arising in this case are not only personal to the parties themselves. They also raise societal and indeed, political issues, relevant to many parents who come before the court. Fundamentally, they are also value-laden issues. I am loathed to comment upon these, namely, in general terms, the benefits and/or deficits of home care as opposed to professional childcare which, as I say, is a necessity to a huge number of Australian parents…”.
Family law advice
Each case before the court is different, as there are other issues and circumstances at play. If you require advice specific to you about a parenting matter, please call our office on (07) 3221 4300. Otherwise you are welcome to fill in our online form to arrange a fixed fee, no obligation initial consultation.