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Shared Custody of Your Children

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 31 Oct 2021 | comments*Discuss
Contact Residency Visitation Custody

There are numerous questions surrounding shared custody. What is it? How does it work? And how is it different to contact (as visitation is called these days)?

In many instances, residence (custody) is granted to the mother, and you, as the father have your contact rights set out. With shared custody, your children split their time between their mother and you. The amount varies – it can be as much as 70% with the mother, for instance – but it means you have much greater contact with them. It presumes, of course, that both the mother and father are fit parents.

UK Lagging Behind

It’s an idea that has widespread popularity in Europe, and in the U.S. it’s becoming more common, although the UK has lagged behind in adopting it.

Shared custody demands a high level of commitment from both parents. If you’re going to have your children for three days a week, then during that time you have you need to make sure your schedule revolves around them.

The Advantages of Shared Custody

Shared custody, shared residency or shared parenting as it's also known, can offer several distinct advantages, both for parents and children. For separated fathers, it means they can be far more involved with their children, seeing them on a regular, extended basis every week. Moreover, it also means that neither parent is carrying the entire burden of parenting while the other is considered absent.

With standard Contact Orders, one parent has the majority of responsibility for the day-to-day routine, while the other – usually the separated father – sees the children at the weekend or selected weekdays.

Shared custody means your Children Have Two Homes, two stable bases where they can feel secure. Above all, it means they continue to have a real family life with both parents, which makes them feel more loved.

Research has determined that when children have experience of shared custody they have better relationships with both parents and are more satisfied with their lives. It’s also shown that even when there’s strong animosity between the parents, shared custody works well for the children.

The Disadvantages of Shared Custody

For shared custody to work, you have to live fairly close to you ex, for your children to continue to attend the same schools, see their friends, and so on. This can create social problems for the parents, since proximity means an increased chance of contact with your Ex Partner.

Also, if your job or circumstances change and you have to move elsewhere, then the change from shared custody to contact can create emotional problems for your children (the same can apply if your ex has to move for any reason). In other words, by its nature there has to be a certain amount of flexibility in the plan.

Shared Custody in the UK

At present, shared custody/residency is not the norm in Britain, although several organisations are trying to increase its visibility and prominence. The Shared Parenting Information Net and the Equal Parenting Council are both working to make it a very acceptable option here.

Just because it's not necessarily the norm, does not mean you can’t bring up the idea in Mediation or through your solicitor as a viable means of custody. In most instances, children are also given a say in where they spend their time, and where they have excellent relationships with both parents, it means they’re not in a position where they have to “choose” between Mum and Dad.

What Next?

Why not have a read through our article on Making Joint Decisions About Your Child's Future for some advice and guidance on how you and your ex partner can make parenting decisions together.

Check out the Separated Dads Forum... It's a great resource where you can ask for advice on topics including Child Access, Maintenance, CAFCASS, Fathers Rights, Court, Behaviour or simply to have a chat with other dads.

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Look I haven't had contact in 13 years ,I dont care who the mother is with or where she moves to its none off my business in reality there will be no shared custody because the girl is 18 years old with her own life why would I even bother now seriously?
Chriso - 31-Oct-21 @ 9:01 PM
Kaneo see a doctor mate your ramblings are getting old you have no concept off time .it's gone brother let it go and move on .
C laurie - 30-Oct-21 @ 5:31 AM
Hi all I just wanted to share my story so far and wondered if you had something similar happen and how you got over it or even just some guidance! So I split with my ex partner 2 year ago we have two children one is 6 the other is 3 when I left we agreed how much I would pay monthly and arranged that I have the children one night a week and every other weekend all was going well until I finally decided that I wanted to move on, my ex would not let my kids meet my new partner until 6 months on which I agreed we then had to all meet up together so she could meet my new partner very weird I know ! Then she wanted to see the house her excuse was to make sure it was safe for them after all this the children started to come to our house more frequently, until me and my partner had an argument we fell out over the grief from her (the ex) more or less but never the less that made it so called unsafe for my children to then be around my house she then found out that my partner does not have custody off her children again should I have said ?! Is it her place to know if it’s nothing to do with neglect ect ?! She then takes it off her own back to call social services and try and get information whe it’s not her business !! She doesn’t have custody of her children because of a violent ex partner why should we have to prove that or why should our relationship now suffer from the Past ? As the kids are not aloud to our house I spend the weekends going else where every other weekend or week nights at parks or in McDonald’s again all because what the ex wants now in my eyes that is not thinking off the kids Atall just her using the children as a weapon and thinking she can still control my life ! Any adviceeeee ???????
Kaneo - 29-Oct-21 @ 7:38 PM
My daughter and husband are going through a divorce and have verbally agreed to do 50% custody without involving solicitors due to costs . However the father is definitely not doing50% or anywhere near it , but, refuses to pay any monies to my daughter for any of the extra expense involved . She also pays all of the mortgage , council tax , food , children’s clothing , and more I think , which she has done all of her married life . Can anyone advise on how she could get him to contribute more financially , re where to look and how to make him pay his share , as I said she can’t afford to employ a solicitor .
Flyme - 8-Oct-21 @ 7:57 PM
My brother is now divorced he served the divorce based on unreasonable behaviour of his wife. They currently share the kids he has about 60 of the time. He has recently advised that we will no longer pay half the bills and she continues to get the mortgage paid and £1000 in benefits. In fact she Mets more than him since he pays mortgage. She didn't turn up to mediation and so court date has been set. Now she has received the letter from Solicitor saying he not going to pay bills from October but will remain to pay the mortgage she has got really nasty- she says she want custody of the kids because it means he will have to give her maintenance. She isn't capable of having the kids, she has history of mental health issues and cannot cope with 2 kids full time. Medical record have her saying so. She only wants it because it comes with money!! Does anyone have any experience or a judge awarding a mother sole custody when the father is keen to have the 50 if not more abs for the last year that's the routine they have been used too! The kids would be beside themselves if they didn't see their dad until the weekend. Sadly it doesn't look like UK law really sided with the Dad.
JB - 3-Oct-21 @ 7:00 PM
Apologies to this site for bombarding posts ,in a crazy way it was every therapeutic .but in reality im never going to this child again .(but there are millions off guys in the same situation) .I'm not saying it's right or wrong I dont know these things) .for myself im done with this fight its( impossible to win .so I'mgiving up and moving on with my life finally). As the old saying goes the fat lady has sang .
C laurie - 31-Aug-21 @ 11:11 PM
Like her mother I don’t know how her (mind works) and if she wants me completely out off the picture.as I said below I made the choice to move on with my life without her daughter and not go though the courts because that’s what I wanted .anyway it’s ancient history now not worth talking about .
Chris - 29-Aug-21 @ 8:15 PM
I don’t want to savage any sort off relationship I had when in my early 20s that’s (long gone ).I don’t care about her affairs if you would call it that I don’t care who she was seeing .in reality I was glad to have her gone .because I don’t want to live that kind off lifestyle she leads it’s not for me .as for her daughter well we don’t even know each other and we are both happy with that .
Chris - 29-Aug-21 @ 7:29 PM
Hi I’ve been with my wife for almost 4 years we have a 2 year old. Due to work circumstances of being let go from my company and as the only sole provider for the family I had to find a solution. I got a great opportunity abroad, during this year I discovered my wife didn’t want to leave the UK and it led her to having an affair. In order to salvage the marriage we decided to move abroad to stay as the family however after four months in my wife moved back and decided that she doesn’t want to live away from the UK, I’m currently in Abu Dhabi and I want to know the law on shared custody of my 2 year son whilst we are in two separate countries, please help stressed dad
Roman123 - 28-Aug-21 @ 11:02 PM
My 7 year old grandson lives with his mother (my daughter) but stays with his dad 3 nights a week but he only wants to go for 2 nights a week and gets very upset when his dad comes to pick him up can my grandson choose
Bernie - 14-Jul-21 @ 10:17 PM
My son has looked after my grandson for the past 14 months his mom just didn't want to know my grandson my son had to give up his job to look after him now because she has yet another boyfriend who has kids has decided that she wants my grandson in her life and is using my grandson as a weapon to manipulate my son
Sue - 12-Jul-21 @ 8:20 PM
My ex partner won´t let me have my children more than i would like to, because she wants me to pay her, also she wants to claim the childrens benefit, she will ignore every message i send her regarding this
Dave - 21-Jun-21 @ 12:27 PM
I have a problem, my ex wants me to have more days with the child and still wants me to pay child maintenance, she doesn’t want me to work
Mike - 15-Mar-21 @ 10:30 PM
My advice is for the mother is go work in the brothels it would really suit you .that way atleast you get paid .you make a decent living out off it .the amount blokes you been with for free .smarten up work in the brothels get paid for what you love .you not smart enough for any other work maybe a bar maid thats about it .you make more in the brothels its a smart move for yourself financially. And if you are thinking about hitting me child support think again because no games I was born sterile. But I am happy to prove it with a dna test so its your call .
C laurie - 7-Feb-21 @ 5:13 PM
@hak.you want to hear my thoughts .this women should stop posting because I am not her daughters( biological father) I am more then willing to do a (dna test ).if she trysto hit me (child support )thats when I will be getting the (dna test done) .and to set the record straight (I never loved or wanted to be with this women ).in fact I am (embarrassed that I was when I was ayoung fella) .but one thing I do know is that I will never (speak or associate )with this women ever again and that makes me (happy inside) .and the same goes for my family I will never speak or associate with them and i set the record straight with them aswell .now I live my life my way and that has brought a sence off calm and happiness into my life .
C laurie - 7-Feb-21 @ 4:46 PM
Hi, My ex and I (after 25 years) split November 2019, I bought her out of the family home and she moved out Feb 10 2020. We have 3 children (daughter 23, son 20 and daughter 15). The older 2 live with me in the family home. My ex and I agreed between ourselves we would jointly/evenlyshare our youngest daughter between us - ie on a week on week off basis - Sunday to Sunday, no parent looks after our daughter more than the other. I believe my ex has applied for Child Benefit and is now stating she wants Maintenance from me. I would like to ascertain if she is entitled to claim maintenance from me considering we look after our daughter evenly, additionally I pay towards school uniform, school dinners, her mobile phone and a TV subscription, I also give my daughter pocket money whenever needed and purchase anything she wants (within reason!). I am not sure where I stand with maintenance and I have been advised (by a friend) to apply for a Joint Residency Order. I would be interested to hear your thoughts on this matter.
Hak - 7-Feb-21 @ 9:40 AM
Hi I have my children from sun though to Tuesday morning and from Thursday till Friday morning so they stay with me 3 nights this has been to court and as been awarded but my landlord the local council are saying that if the court order doesn't said joint custody I have to vacate my home which I have been a tenant for 20 years and was my home even before I met my now ex wife please could you advise many thanks very worried and stress dad
Billy - 20-Jan-21 @ 2:57 AM
Wow suzi you are way out there you wherealways a tripper maybe you taking one to many ????.(take care you can have brezzy she will need to look after you ).
C laurie - 8-Jan-21 @ 1:37 AM
Hi Me and my wife have split almost a year now, she moved out and when back to her parents, she took my daughter who has autism, my little girl is 6 and she is a mute, my wife and her parents have been very controlling on how I she my daughter, they refuse for her to come home, as they believe this will confuse her until we sell the house, the current situation is one day a week with for a few hours either at the park or soft play I get to see her, but during lock down it’s been hard, I obliged because I wanted to see my daughter, but I’m only seeing her once a week for 5 hours the awful thing is my daughter is only use to seeing me as a person who brings her treats which isn’t good for her routine, there no domestic violence or alcohol issues, it’s my wife and her family being very controlling, I requested for mediation which she turned around and said no to, so she appealed to the courts for child arrangement I believe She trying to push for me getting as little with my daughter, I wanted to know would I likely get split custody of my child.
Jackson5 - 7-Jan-21 @ 10:42 PM
Should my child's mum do half of the travelling, as in pick up and drop offs? I pay child maintenance, as stipulated. I have my children every other weekend, and some extra ones as well as half term and holidays. It's 2 hours drive (when there is not traffic), and I have done it for the last 5 years (picking the up Friday after school, taking them back Sunday when is convenient for their mum). Every time I have asked to meet, not even half way, it's a reason for her to have a go at me saying that I'm the one who decided to move 2 hours away. Is there any regulation regarding this? I'm not asking for her to do all the way, but at least closer to the motorway.
Martin - 30-Dec-20 @ 11:11 PM
Hi there, I am seeking advice about myself and my kids. I have split with their father for over 6 years we have had shared care for the past 4 years but I need to go home to England to be with my family. I have no support or help here in Scotland. I have been told I need consent from the father but I know he will say no. I have bad depression and anxiety due to being isolated and alone. Myself and my kids would have a better life being in England. What can I do?
Heather - 22-Dec-20 @ 6:26 PM
Hello, I am in need of some advice For my brother. He has been separated from his daughters mum since she was born. Since she has been 3 months old they alternate 5 days each. She is now saying that that’s doesn’t suit her and the he’s only allowed To see her at the weekends. She is pulling all the string like she is the boss. Also she is Constantly telling him that he has to pay and give her maintenance, surely if they have her 50/50 he doesn’t. And I believe this is why she wants to change the plan so that it doesn’t look like it’s 50/50 anymore and then she can ask him for money. How would we go about getting shared parenting custody ?
Help the bro - 20-Dec-20 @ 3:49 PM
Hi, need advice regarding my son.My ex and I split nearly 2 years ago and she is now playing the soul career card!With the COVID-19 rules, what/when can I see my 15yr old son?And do I really have to ask her permission to see him, or can he make his own decision without going through her?
Si - 4-Nov-20 @ 7:48 PM
Hireally need some help me and my ex partner have been co parenting are 2 sons one 8 the other 6 we have been doing this for nearly 3 years, my oldest boy has always Be ferried to be with he’s dad they are like clones but I alway did my best to show him I love him and did nothing different with he’s old sister(different father) and he’s younger brother I’ve been married now for two years and my husband’s children live with us as well for the past year while my eldest son hets on with my step daughter he finds it really hard to get on with he’s blood sister and feels like he doesn’t get enough attention from me he recently has been getting a lot of anxiety in school and has been seeing someone in the school about it I have got in touch with cams and we are going down that route but my ex has said to me that maybe he should stay with him to see if his anxiety and the willing of him going to school improves smash it is killing me I really don’t know what is best for him
Sian - 22-Oct-20 @ 9:03 PM
What are the rules regarding my kids visiting my ex mow we are in tier 3 and can they stay overnight ? Thanks
Ang - 16-Oct-20 @ 8:24 AM
My ex an I separated 5yrs ago and we had to children together 10 an 13. We have shared custody. My ex has gone on to have two more children with her new partner. The problem I am having is my two children are telling me they are unhappy living with their mum and crying on the days they have to go back to her, and asking to come an live with me. Really not sure how to handle this. Any advice would be grateful
Little legs - 15-Jul-20 @ 4:34 PM
Should my child's mum do half of the travelling, as in pick up and drop offs? I pay Cs and have my child every 2 weeks but its a two hour drive one way for me and her mum won't drive half hour. I cant afford to do this.
Matt75 - 10-Jul-20 @ 5:11 PM
Help I get 2 days of work as I am a bus driver I work shifts, I always tell my ex in advance by 6 weeks my days of so she can plan things etc but now she’s being awkward saying I have to quit my job and not work because it doesn’t suit her life style and she wants to go to work and I should look after them wail she goes to work but still wants me to pay maintenance like I currently do but if I don’t work I wouldn’t be able to do so, and I’ve recently moved in with my partner who has 3 children and my ex is demanding I have my over night witch currently isn’t available due to my partners house and her children and now she’s saying if I don’t have them over night I’m Not allowed to see them at all even though all my days off I get I have them all the time I can’t possibly have them any more as I don’t get any more days of please help!!
Phe - 8-Jul-20 @ 7:04 PM
Hi i got a court order from my husband that he wants to take the kids for a few days my 14 years old doesnt want to go is this allowed will the court say that my child doesnt have to go
Kkkkk47263728 - 4-Jul-20 @ 3:52 PM
Hello Question about Shared residency. sadly the children are being shouted at for wanting to see thier other parent ( parent 1)and that the parent shouting ( parent 2) cant move while they do. Parent 2 wants to move 25 minutes away if no traffic but1 hour in traffuc ( school time).. Covid and no school i think are being used as a stop gap to make the move happen. Problem is the children change home every 24 hoursits 1 day swap , 2 days then swap every other weekend. live half a mile apart now so thats easy. The 12 year old wants to live with parent 1 already,but cant get anyone to listen. The solicitor they went to see shrugged them off said come back at 13 ( that could be to late) . The 12 year old does not want to live with parent 2 now or when moving. Theyknow which school and which friends they want to be with. Parent 2 is very mentaly abusive. At this time niether child -12 ( just going secondary) is in schooldue to covid, ages 12 and 7. Very worryung the 12 year old has said they won't go bk as the 7 year old will be open to mental abuse, arguments shouting. 12 year olddoes want to return to school but can't leave the youngest so as long as there is a choice it will be wants to stay home. Why doesnt anyone listen to the children yet? All because parent 2 works in child care they aregiven a free pass an automaric belief of good care. All is not ok and if parent 2 moves thier lives will not improve due ro drink and realy not wanting them puerly for status. This is ownership vs parenting. This is benefits vs working. This is rent vs risking homlessness. This is not a person who sees 2 children as having needs of thier own, They are owned. What can be done please without a big court fight which had to happen just to place the children with some relief from how they have to live. Court cases ( fights) are exhausting when there is a child that knows what they want. With a residency such as this with only 1 extra night at parents 2 each week the residency is 4 nights a month away from 50/50. Is this enough to block a house move? I havent read any answers on here only questions,i can but only hope for a reply please.
Marselle - 30-Jun-20 @ 10:18 PM
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