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There is a lot of confusion in the terminology in relation to the children's care issues. So the terms 'custody', 'care and control', and 'access' may be quite misleading.
Custody, a lot of people have the misconception thinking that is the actual physical possession of the child, but actually it really means the right to make important decisions in relation to the child. The parent without custody does not necessarily mean that he or she is shut off from the child's life. That parent can still have the right to be heard in relation to important decisions in relation the child if he or she makes an application to the court. What I mean by important decisions is things such as the child's education, where he or she lives, his or her religion, whether or not he or she should have surgery, that sort of thing. So both parents, irrespective of whether or not it's a joint custody or sole custody situation retain the joint responsibility of the child, and that includes the right to be heard on important decisions relating to their child.
The terminology that we hear a lot, care and control, really means with whom the child lives with. So that parent with care and control of the child will be the one making everyday decisions for the child, so that would be mundane everyday decisions such as the child's diet, when he or she goes to bed, what activities he or she participates in, etcetera.
Access refers to the right to see the child, for the non-resident parent. So the parent without care and control of the child would have access to his or her child. Again, the misconception is that the non-resident parent has the right to see the child, but actually it is the other way around. It is the child's right to see the parent. Normally, orders would be reasonable access for the non-resident parent, but in some cases there can be defined access. So that could include which day of the week, or what times of the week the parent sees the child, and the split of holidays.
I know this can all be quite confusing, but don't worry, we would explain and guide you throughout the process. So you actually don't need to remember all of this.