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'It is still the case that 50/50 shared care arrangements between parents are comparatively rare in private law children cases. Research shows that a number of factors have to be in place, practical matters such as the close geographical proximity, but, above all, the couple have to be on reasonable or good terms so that the to and fro of every day life for a child is accommodated without undue emotional fallout.Prior to the change of legislation there were a number of cases stressing that shared care need not equate to a strict 50/50 division of time. However the case law accepted that the categorisation of an arrangement as 'shared care', whatever the division of time, could carry symbolic force. That symbolism, however artificial could, in certain circumstances further the best interests of a child. It was perhaps most effective in cases where parents were not on reasonable or good terms.
There is no longer any need, because of the change in the legislation, to impose a "shared" order under section 8. Both parents have equal status. So a division of time 50/50 will remain, in my view, a rare order and only to be contemplated where there is some confidence that it will not work to the disadvantage of the child, albeit that the aim is to give good quality and substantial time with each parent'.
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