However, despite stressing the value of children having contact with both their parents, there is an unfair distinction between 'care' and what is termed as 'merely contact' [p 27 para 23]. Contact and care are equally important and are really indistinguishable, and in recognition of this a number of jurisdictions in the USA have introduced the term 'parenting time' to cover both.
Many non-resident parents care for their children in the day, feeding them, getting them ready for school, picking them up at the end of the day, and buying clothes for them. This may be because the other parent is at work, or the non-resident parent works nights, or has no suitable accommodation for the children, or just because this is what works best for those parents, but the green paper pays no recognition to this and continues the artificial concept of equating care with where children sleep.
Daytime contact is important and is just as valid a parenting function as having children sleep overnight, so proper recognition should be given to it - otherwise the proposals will be seen as decidedly unfair.
The proposal to reduce support by one seventh of the weekly rate for each overnight stay [p 49 para 9] is flawed, because for 50-50 shared care the non-resident parent is still expected to contribute for the time the children are with the other parent - in addition to the expense they have to meet when they are in their own care - they are thus still meeting all the child care costs.
Last updated - 29 November 1998