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Olympic Plans

Recognising an Unsustainable Plan before it is Put into Practice Gives Confidence the Future is Manageable

In the lead up to a global sporting event like the Olympics, fans will jump on the internet to find out exactly when their favourite event will be broadcast.  They eagerly set their alarms and wake in the dark of night to watch their heroes compete against the best in the world.

It’s fun, but after two or three nights it starts to take its toll.  Waking up at 6am, having gone to bed only a couple of hours earlier, is a lot less fun.  If you’re lucky, you’ll get through the day feeling a bit tired.  If you’re someone who needs their eight hours (like me) you’ll shuffle through the world like a zombie, desperate for the sweet release of sleep.

Towards the end of the Olympics we have to decide whether to miss out on a nail-biting final to catch up on rest or spend the next few days in a sleep-induced haze.  It’s a stark reminder of the difference between making plans and living them.

Section 60CC(3) of the Family Law Act 1975 describes issues parties must bear in mind when planning children’s orders.  In particular, section 60CC(3)(e) requires consideration of “the practical difficulty and expense of a child spending time with and communicating with a parent and whether that difficulty or expense will substantially affect the child’s right to maintain personal relations and direct contact with both parents on a regular basis”.

When proposing orders it is easy to say “it’s in the children’s best interest to spend equal time with both parents on a week about basis.”  Less easy is to ask “is the children spending time with both parents on a week about basis sustainable in the long term?”

It is not an easy question because the answer could be unwanted.  A parent may have work commitments, or live in a distant location, or a child might need to frequently attend extra-curricular activities (like swimming training).  There are any number of reasons why living a week about schedule would be impossible.

Anticipating this issue is a good thing.  It is far better, for both parents and children, to recognise an unsustainable plan before it is put into practice and starts causing problems.  Not only does this drastically reduce the likelihood of having to renegotiate arrangements only months after they’re (supposedly) settled, it gives both parents comfort and confidence that the future is manageable.

Staying up all hours is fun, but there’s a reason the Olympics only take two weeks out of every four years.


© Delaney & Delaney Solicitors. This publication is for information only and is not legal advice. You should obtain advice specific to your circumstances and not rely on this publication as legal advice. Should you have any queries in relation to this publication, please contact our office on (07) 3236 2604.