Family Lawyers Mackay
74 Victoria St Mackay QLD 4740
Mon-Fri: 8.30am to 5pm

Family Lawyers Mackay Blog

Home/Family Lawyers Mackay Blog
Discover more
22 Nov 2022

Custody and Contact

By Family Lawyers Mackay, 22 Nov 2022
Child Custody, Child Support

People regularly use the words custody and contact when discussing parenting arrangements. For the most part, we know they are referring to the amount of time a child spends with each parent.

While it seems appropriate to use the terms custody and contact when referring to the legal and hands-on relationship between a parent and their child, in Australia these terms are no longer used.

Australian Family Law uses the terms “lives with” and “spends time with” when making Court Orders for parenting arrangements.

There is no rule that children must spend equal or “50:50” time with each parent.

Lives with is a term used to describe the parent that provides the largest amount of care and with whom the child makes their home. This is the term that should be used instead of custody.

Spends time with is a term that is used to describe the parent whom the child sees and ‘spends time with but does not live with. This is the term that should be used instead of contact.

These terms relate to time with your child rather than your parental responsibility. You can still be involved in decisions related to your child’s life even though they may not live with you the majority of the time.


By consulting one of our accredited family law mackay specialists.

The introduction of these terms in Australian Family Law was to bring the focus on the best interests of the child and their right to have a meaningful relationship with both of their parents.

The best outcome is that both parents discuss their child’s individual needs, and come to their own agreement about where a child will live, and how they will spend time with their parents. At Family Lawyers Mackay we know that this is not always possible. If you have a family law matter, questions about family law or family law property settlements and want to find out more please contact us at (07) 4847 0198 or email us at


Get in touch today!

We take pride in customer service and look forward to handling your matter.