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Shared Custody of Your Children

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 21 May 2017 | 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.

Separated Dads Chat Room & Forum

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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[Add a Comment]
Dave.dave.1981 - Your Question:
I am splitting from my partner. We are not married but have a 3 yo. I want to have custody of my son either shared times or at suitable weekends for her. I want to be able to take my son to visit my parents who live a few hours away without her interfering. What is the best way to have this as a right she cant refuse

Our Response:
Your best option is to try to reach a mutual agreement regarding when you should have access. If you cannot agree, mediation is the next option. Trying to develop an amicable and trusting relationship is always the best way around the situation, please see link here. While a court order may offer rigid times, it is a) at the discretion of the court what those times will be and b) an application to court is seen as the last resort after all other options have been attempted.
SeparatedDads - 25-May-17 @ 1:42 PM
rocky123 - Your Question:
Hi AllI split from my ex wife 3 years ago. I custody of one of my 4 children 1 of which has recently returned to my ex wife based on his wishes.As it stands she has agreed a court order after a 3 year battle. 142 nights to child maintenance service and now trying to backtrack to 87 nights to a private arrangement.I have my children 150 nights. My ex is claiming 8000 of benefits tax credit child benefit which is technically for my shared care how can I challenge it.It costs me 80 a month in fuel for contact I have asked for a variation to ensure this cost is reimburst but I need a court order to ensure tax credit and child benefit is equally shared. Does anyone what I need to do?

Our Response:
As a rule tax credits and child benefit is paid directly to the primary carer (even if you 'theoretically' have shared care benefits are paid to the person who receives child benefit). You may wish to ask other dads if they can contribute any advice via the Separated Dads forum. Otherwise, you would have to seek professional legal advice to see whether you have a case to answer.
SeparatedDads - 22-May-17 @ 1:41 PM
Hi All I split from my ex wife 3 years ago. I custody of one of my 4 children 1 of which has recently returned to my ex wife based on his wishes. As it stands she has agreed a court order after a 3 year battle. 142 nights to child maintenance service and now trying to backtrack to 87 nights to a private arrangement. I have my children 150 nights. My ex is claiming 8000 of benefits tax credit child benefit which is technically for my shared care how can I challenge it. It costs me 80 a month in fuel for contact I have asked for a variation to ensure this cost is reimburst but I need a court order to ensure tax credit and child benefit is equally shared. Does anyone what I need to do?
rocky123 - 21-May-17 @ 11:46 PM
I am splitting from my partner. We are not married but have a 3 yo. I want to have custody of my son either shared times or at suitable weekends for her. I want to be able to take my son to visit my parents who live a few hours away without her interfering. What is the best way to have this as a right she cant refuse
Dave.dave.1981 - 19-May-17 @ 7:07 PM
Hi I split from my children's mother 2 years ago and things have become a little strained recently with her refusing me contact with my 3 children, I don't have anywhere for the children to stay over night with me at the moment, if I appointed a solicitor could I sort out a divorce and apply for joint custody or would that get thrown out ? would the council help me out with a place to rent if I was awarded joint custody ? thanks in advance
Doddie - 16-May-17 @ 8:49 PM
My ex took our two early out of school 3 weeks ago.and just decided to say they are going to live with him.he even changed there schools.without me or social services knowing.we have no issues at present with them either.we managed to arrange a visit I have them now and .I wanna keep them till he gets a court order.which shouldn't be granted in his favour .as this is where there siblings live too and friends .
Worrier - 12-May-17 @ 11:23 PM
Scullster11 - Your Question:
I'm currently separated from my wife last 12months we have tried but to with no real progress, I'm currently living close by my ex and have unlimited access which is great, but here is my concern, I need more space away so I plan on having my son full time which is where the problems will start. My wife has been fighting addictions for the last 5 years tried various doctors. Therapy but the issue doesn't go away now nearly bankrupt part of me is worried for her but can't help her so will I get full custody and if so how do I apply. Also I will need to move as renting a room privately. any guidance would be great and thanks

Our Response:
I'm a touch confused regarding your question as you have unlimited access, but you need more space away. You want to help your ex, but at the same time you want to have your child full-time. I think the best option here is to suggest mediation to your ex with a view of both of you working out what is in your son's best interests. Besides, you will not be allowed to apply to court until you have attempted mediation, please see link here. Therefore, if you feel you should have your son full time, then you will need to discuss this with your ex. If your ex refuses to attend mediation, then you will be allowed to apply to court. However, even though your ex may have some addictions, it does not guarantee the court will take your son from her and hand him over to you to become the primary carer. The court has to view it as absolutely necessary in order to award this. If you want to explore this route, I suggest you seek some professional legal advice. As in all cases, your best option is to try to work with your ex, especially if you already have unlimited access, please see link here . Taking the matter to court is always seen as the last resort as it can be extremely stressful, so where you can, mutual negotiation is key.
SeparatedDads - 8-May-17 @ 10:17 AM
I'm currently separated from my wife last 12months we have tried but to with no real progress, I'm currently living close by my ex and have unlimited access which is great, but here is my concern, I need more space away so I plan on having my son full time which is where the problems will start. My wife has been fighting addictions for the last 5 years tried various doctors. Therapy but the issue doesn't go away now nearly bankrupt part of me is worried for her but can't help her so will I get full custody and if so how do I apply. Also I will need to move as renting a room privately.... any guidance would be great and thanks
Scullster11 - 7-May-17 @ 12:14 AM
Lizzi - Your Question:
Hello Myself and my ex split in February we have two children a 6 year old daughter (who is not biologically his but he has had her name changed by deedpoll) and a 3 year old son who is his. He was paying me £50 a week for both (which isn't much but I was fine with it) he stopped pating me for 3 weeks then I finally got the 150 and he has now decided to cut it from 50 to 30 a week between them. even after we had a talk and I disagreed with the idea.as I am now a single mother.who is classed as being homeless with 2 children I just dont have a clue what to do so I was just wondering if you had any advice you could offer x

Our Response:
Your only option would be to contact CMS. However, unless he officially adopted your other child, he may not be deemed financially responsible. You do not give reason either why he has stopped paying. For instance, if he has lost his job which will affect the amount he pays. Please see link here .
SeparatedDads - 4-May-17 @ 12:50 PM
Hello Myself and my ex split in February we have two children a 6 year old daughter (who is not biologically his but he has had her name changed by deedpoll) and a 3 year old son who is his. He was paying me £50 a week for both (which isn't much but I was fine with it) he stopped pating me for 3 weeks then I finally got the 150 and he has now decided to cut it from 50 to 30 a week between them... even after we had a talk and I disagreed with the idea.....as I am now a single mother....who is classed as being homeless with 2 children i just dont have a clue what to do so I was just wondering if you had any advice you could offer x
Lizzi - 3-May-17 @ 7:33 PM
Luke - Your Question:
Hi, my ex and me split up last year and since then I have seen my daughter sporadically throughout the week usually on a Thursday and Friday and never over night or at the weekend. I am on her birth certificate.My daughter is two in June and I've been asking to have her more and particularly over night. Before we split I was doing night feeding, nappy changing and bathing whenever I was home and I still do all these with her now. My ex will not allow overnight still.I went to a mediator but my ex dragged it out so long my mediator advised to try other means and I have contacted solicitors who have contacted ex with a draft proposal of contact arrangements which she has rejected.I work four days on four days off constantly over the entire year and have proposed having my daughter for three of my days off including the nights between. My ex solicitors keep saying that my daughter needs 'stability' which I fail to see my plan doesn't provide. My solicitor has come up with a one night in the week and every other weekend which is impossible for me and in my opinion is less stable.I do all pick ups and drop offs and I pay more than I am liable for as I wanted my daughter to go to nursery for her social well being.All signs point to me losing even more if I go to court. Is there any chance of being awarded shared custody or is it pointless to ask?

Our Response:
Court is the only options that is left to you if your ex will not compromise in any way. The fact you have regular contact will stand you in good stead in court. The fact your work is irregular might stop the court from opting for shared care, as your solicitor advises they prefer a regular pattern of access. But there is no reason why you shouldn't be awarded overnight stays. The court does want fathers to have a good solid relationship with their children and unless there is a good reason why they shouldn't, it's likely you will be granted overnight access.
SeparatedDads - 3-May-17 @ 12:53 PM
Hi, my ex and me split up last year and since then I have seen my daughter sporadically throughout the week usually on a Thursday and Friday and never over night or at the weekend. I am on her birth certificate. My daughter is two in June and I've been asking to have her more and particularly over night. Before we split I was doing night feeding, nappy changing and bathing whenever I was home and I still do all these with her now. My ex will not allow overnight still. I went to a mediator but my ex dragged it out so long my mediator advised to try other means and I have contacted solicitors who have contacted ex with a draft proposal of contact arrangements which she has rejected. I work four days on four days off constantly over the entire year and have proposed having my daughter for three of my days off including the nights between. My ex solicitors keep saying that my daughter needs 'stability' which I fail to see my plan doesn't provide. My solicitor has come up with a one night in the week and every other weekend which is impossible for me and in my opinion is less stable. I do all pick ups and drop offs and I pay more than I am liable for as I wanted my daughter to go to nursery for her social well being. All signs point to me losing even more if I go to court. Is there any chance of being awarded shared custody or is it pointless to ask?
Luke - 29-Apr-17 @ 10:55 AM
Dadoftheson - Your Question:
What do a I do if I have been separated from my ex partner for 2 months. I've tried to email to arrange visitational rights to keep a paper trace that I am trying to see my son. Only problem I have is I work on a flexible cOntract and my rota is a day to day thing. But the days I am normally off my ex partner says I can't see him because he's at pre school and she is busy. But if she was busy it would benefit her and she'd saved money as he's still under the age for her to get the free legal help for pre school.I don't know what to do as I don't really want to communicate with her anyway as it just leads to arguments and we can never come to an an agreement. I'm waiting upon a family law solicitor friend to come of holiday then a letter will be sent from the solicitor to her door. But I've been told by people to just walk away as she's playing games. Can someone give me advice?

Our Response:
Do you really wish to walk away from seeing your child? If you can't agree on visitation/access, then in the first instance you would have to apply to attend mediation in order to try to resolve your issues mutually, please see link: Mediation: What is it and is it For Me? here. If your ex refuses to attend mediation, then court would be the next option for you to consider. If there is no reason why you should not be granted access through the courts, then an arrangement will be set up that both you and your ex will have to keep to. The court will take your working pattern into consideration when implementing this.
SeparatedDads - 27-Apr-17 @ 2:05 PM
What do a I do if I have been separated from my ex partner for 2 months. I've tried to email to arrange visitational rights to keep a paper trace that I am trying to see my son. Only problem I have is I work on a flexible cOntract and my rota is a day to day thing. But the days I am normally off my ex partner says I can't see him because he's at pre school and she is busy. But if she was busy it would benefit her and she'd saved money as he's still under the age for her to get the free legal help for pre school. I don't know what to do as I don't really want to communicate with her anyway as it just leads to arguments and we can never come to an an agreement. I'm waiting upon a family law solicitor friend to come of holiday then a letter will be sent from the solicitor to her door. But I've been told by people to just walk away as she's playing games.Can someone give me advice?
Dadoftheson - 27-Apr-17 @ 1:56 AM
Hi there. My partner and I have been seperstes since turn of the year.I pay 200 per month for child maintenance.I get my boy three or four nights a week depending on her work schedule.I am living with my mum after the break up and it is.annoyinf that she earned 21k last year and me just a bit more.Yet I have total split access and she wants 200 per month This does.not seem fair. She has the house . Child maintenance and also my child maintenance.Surely to god if it's a split in parenting tight down the middle and she earns good money why should I have to prop her up.? I pay for food nappies everything when he is over here on top of the 200 I give. Her. So in fact it's probably close to 300 a month instead of 200. Surely this is wrong and against everything that split parenting should be about ???
Del - 26-Apr-17 @ 11:51 PM
Jbuk1976 I don't know what the issue is. He's the children's father and is perfectly entitled to see them 50/50. If he has parental responsibility, then there is nothing your partner can do to prevent him and the police will not get involved without a Child Arrangements Order. It is your opinion that the current arrangements give 'continuity', but from the sounds of it, not the father's. I am afraid that the refusal of your partner not to provide any flexibility is not responsible parenting and would be viewed dimly. Cafcass and the courts support flexibility under shared care arrangements. On the face of it, your partner is likely to be the route cause of an Application to the court by the father. It disgusts me when I hear stuff like this. She doesn't own the kids and didn't make them herself, so has no right to deny access under the thin veil of 'continuity '. Either be flexible and stop seeking CMS by way of frustrating access or get prepared for litigation. Unless there is safeguarding issues, courts or more willing to issue Shared Care Arrangements and where both parents can cover half the care, 50/50 is becoming more common. Between me and my ex, her unreasonableness has cost in excess of £30k in litigation, only to end up with the same shared care 50/50 split we had before. I suggest she puts aside her own CMS claims and lack of flexibility or get ready to go to court.
Doc - 26-Apr-17 @ 12:42 PM
Largerman - Your Question:
Since my ex wife ended our marriage in November 2015, I have shared the responsibility in raising our children for 3 nights per week + holidays etc since then.However I am having great difficulty getting the various departments to share the benefits for the children. Unfortunately my ex wife, her solicitor & the benefits agencies are of the opinion that it's fine for me to share almost equally the costs of raising our children, but all of the benefits related to the children should remain with my ex wife. I have been working 54 hours per week to keep my head above water. It's not sustainable & would like some help if you could offer some.

Our Response:
Unfortunately, this is a problem that the DWP cannot seem to be able to solve. Regardless of whether the parents share care of the children where benefits are concerned, HMRC has to decide on who the benefits should be awarded to. The only way this can be done is by allocating one parent to be named as the primary carer - defeating what is essentially the objective of a shared-care arrangement. You can more about this in detail via the Gingerbread link and full report here.
SeparatedDads - 24-Apr-17 @ 12:15 PM
Since my ex wife ended our marriage in November 2015, I have shared the responsibility in raising our children for 3 nights per week + holidays etc since then. However I am having great difficulty getting the various departments to share the benefits for the children.Unfortunately my ex wife, her solicitor & the benefits agencies are of the opinion that it's fine for me to share almost equally the costs of raising our children, but all of the benefits related to the children should remain with my ex wife. I have been working 54 hours per week to keep my head above water. It's not sustainable & would like some help if you could offer some.
Largerman - 23-Apr-17 @ 7:15 PM
midge - Your Question:
Hi, my fiancé and myself have recently split up leaving our 1 year old with her as the primary carer. However, she has a heavy involvement with social services due to mental health & issues with the police. 3 weeks after our breakup she has told me she "cannot cope" and leaves the house when our child cries, violent ex-partners turn up at the door, neglecting the child when he's crying. I've now had full custody of our child for the past 9 days and states she isn't "fit to take him back yet" She gets all of the benefits in her name, and I have a direct debit going into her bank account every week for child maintenance. I'm struggling financially, and have had to rely on family members to look after my child while I work. I'm living at my dad's house and they're happy for him to stay in the long term, however I don't know how what I should do next.I feel like she's taking advantage of me and using our child as a weapon, while she socializes with her new boyfriend & uses money that should go to our child on her social life.

Our Response:
Unless you are considered the primary carer, then you will not be able to claim benefits or stop paying child maintenance. Your only recourse is to ask your ex to reimburse the child maintenance you pay (as a temporary measure) as it is meant to be towards the day-to-day welfare of your child. If an agreement is reached about you becoming the primary carer, then your ex would have to cancel benefits and you would then be eligible to apply. If you wish to be considered the primary carer officially and long term and your ex disagrees, then your only recourse would be to take the matter to court and let the court decide upon what it thinks is in the best interests of your child. Please see link here.
SeparatedDads - 21-Apr-17 @ 11:01 AM
Hi, my fiancé and myself have recently split up leaving our 1 year old with her as the primary carer. However, she has a heavy involvement with social services due to mental health & issues with the police. 3 weeks after our breakup she has told me she "cannot cope" and leaves the house when our child cries, violent ex-partners turn up at the door, neglecting the child when he's crying. I've now had full custody of our child for the past 9 days and states she isn't "fit to take him back yet" She gets all of the benefits in her name, and I have a direct debit going into her bank account every week for child maintenance. I'm struggling financially, and have had to rely on family members to look after my child while I work. I'm living at my dad's house and they're happy for him to stay in the long term, however I don't know how what I should do next. I feel like she's taking advantage of me and using our child as a weapon, while she socializes with her new boyfriend & uses money that should go to our child on her social life.
midge - 20-Apr-17 @ 4:05 PM
mark - Your Question:
No I pay for the one room my ex wife is saying that my daughter shouldn't be in the same room as my son as she is getting to the age that my son and daughter can not share a room any more and my ex wife will never discuss any thing she just states things and says that's it no discussion she just shouts, can I get help with housing for a place with extra room?

Our Response:
I'm afraid that housing will not consider this due to the fact you are not considered the primary carer of your children. There is currently no law in the United Kingdom about children of different genders sharing a bedroom. However, it is advised by the likes of the local authority that children of the opposite sex, when one is over the age of 10 should no longer share a room. If your daughter is 10, there may be a good reason why your ex has specified this i.e, she may feel your daughter requires a certain level of gender-related privacy. Therefore, in this case you too need to address a situation which is obviously unsustainable long term, especially as your daughter approaches puberty.
SeparatedDads - 20-Apr-17 @ 10:59 AM
no I pay for the one room my ex wife is saying that my daughter shouldn't be in the same room as my son as she is gettingto the age that my son and daughter can not share a room any more and my ex wife will never discuss any thing she just states things and says that's it no discussion she just shouts, can I get help with housing for a place with extra room?
mark - 19-Apr-17 @ 2:42 PM
mark - Your Question:
Help I have two children aged 10 and 7 my ex wife is saying that I can no longer have my kids over the weekend as my daughter is now ten and I live in a shared house with only one bedroom the kids have the bed I sleep on sofa she says she wont allow the kids to share any more as my daughter is of that age can I get help from the council for accommodation for a place or I'm going to loose my daughter I have them every weekend please help

Our Response:
Your only option is to try to negotiate a way around it either directly with your ex or through mediation, please see link here. The last resort is to take the matter to court to allow the court to decide what it thinks is in the best interests of your children. If you live in a shared house, is there any way you can negotiate sleeping in another room in the house while your children stay over? This is a situation which is best resolved between both you and your ex and putting your children's welfare first.
SeparatedDads - 19-Apr-17 @ 2:08 PM
help I have two children aged 10 and 7 my ex wife is saying that I can no longer have my kids over the weekendas my daughter is now ten and I live in a shared house with only one bedroom the kids have the bed I sleep on sofa she says she wont allow the kids to share any more as my daughter is of that age can I get help from the council for accommodation for a place or I'm going to loose my daughterI have them every weekend please help
mark - 19-Apr-17 @ 12:46 PM
Hi, Alternative question this one!!! I am living with my new partner for over a year now and she has two Children. Her ex husband is completely disagreeable however they have a good childcare arrangement at the moment where the children stay every Tuesday and Wednesday evening and every other weekend with the father. This gives the children good continuity and good contact with both parents. The father however is ALWAYS trying to change the evenings and days that he has them and my partner has refused and stood firm because she is adamant that a set routine is what is best for the children. Our house is their registered "primary carer" home as they spend the majority (slightly) of their time here and are registered with Dr, Dentist, etc here. My partner recently applied for CMS payments as nothing has been forthcoming in the least 12 months since the seperation and the ex husband has tried to argue with the CMS that he is the primary carer. Even changing contact details at their school to a doctors surgery that they weren't even registered at near to his home! (Dangerous) The ex husband is constantly accusing my partner that he is being denied access to his children. This is clearly not the case as they have a good arrangement in place at the moment, albeit he keeps trying to change it. My thoughts are that he is doing this to prove he is the primary career has the children 50/50 to avoid CMS payments. My partner has asked he ex husband to attend Mediation service and he has refused. Twice. My partner is petrified that he will take her to court to get a 50/50 legally binding agreement and my question is will be able to do this. Will the court take this case seriously and would a court award such an order in these circumstances??? Thank you.
Jbuk1976 - 30-Mar-17 @ 8:41 PM
Hi, Alternative question this one!!! I am living with my new partner for over a year now and she has two Children. Her ex husband is completely disagreeable however they have a good childcare arrangement at the moment where the children stay every Tuesday and Wednesday evening and every other weekend with the father. This gives the children good continuity and good contact with both parents. The father however is ALWAYS trying to change the evenings and days that he has them and my partner has refused and stood firm because she is adamant that a set routine is what is best for the children. Our house is their registered "primary carer" home as they spend the majority (slightly) of their time here and are registered with Dr, Dentist, etc here. My partner recently applied for CMS payments as nothing has been forthcoming in the least 12 months since the seperation and the ex husband has tried to argue with the CMS that he is the primary carer. Even changing contact details at their school to a doctors surgery that they weren't even registered at near to his home! (Dangerous) The ex husband is constantly accusing my partner that he is being denied access to his children. This is clearly not the case as they have a good arrangement in place at the moment, albeit he keeps trying to change it. My thoughts are that he is doing this to prove he is the primary career has the children 50/50 to avoid CMS payments. My partner has asked he ex husband to attend Mediation service and he has refused. Twice. My partner is petrified that he will take her to court to get a 50/50 legally binding agreement and my question is will be able to do this. Will the court take this case seriously and would a court award such an order in these circumstances??? Thank you.
Jbuk1976 - 30-Mar-17 @ 8:24 PM
Hi, I am lucky enough to have a really good relationship with both my children (15 & 18) and they both come and stay with me whenever they feel like it. This can be anything from once a week to all week. Their mum and I allow them to choose and it works really well. My question then is when deciding child maintenace on the .gov calculator how should i determine how many nights they stay with me because it varies all the time and is always their choice? The difference financially is huge between 1 night and 4 nights a week? I only want what is fair to both me and my Ex. Any advice welcome
Kawasaki Man - 29-Mar-17 @ 9:47 PM
Fil - Your Question:
Hi. I've applied to the court for a child arrangements order without a solicitor.My ex has heavy involvement with social services due to mental health issues and several incidents involving the police and drink.She uses the children as a weapon against me and will make a issue out of nothing.She has told me that she has got a barrister for the court hearing and that after the barrister has finished with me she and the children won't have to deal with me at all.I have nothing to hide and have nothing derogatory against my name.I only want contact to see my children.Do you think it will be wise to arrange for a barrister myself.Ive read also that the court can also award something you don't expect.I'm happy for contact or full custody but am worried about about joint custody because the children would be stuck in a battle field she's totally unreasonable likes making false allegations and I would end up paying for everything.She lives with the children in my home I live 50 miles away and am staying with my mum and can't afford to buy or rent a place nearer to her.Is it possible the court could consider this and tell me that I have to move nearer

Our Response:
The court are unlikely to consider joint residency and would not make you relocate. We cannot advise whether you should employ a barrister or not however, litigants in person MUST be treated equally before the law and have equal access to justice. Judges have a duty to ensure a fair trial by giving them due assistance to achieve this. But that duty does not extend to giving legal advice. Nor can a judge be seen to favour one party over another, even if that party is a litigant in person, please see link here . I will ask our Separated Dads Facebook members what their opinion is, as many will have been through this sort of scenario before and will be able to advise. Please see your answers via the link here.
SeparatedDads - 27-Mar-17 @ 11:53 AM
Hi. I've applied to the court for a child arrangements order without a solicitor. My ex has heavy involvement with social services due to mental health issues and several incidents involving the police and drink. She uses the children as a weapon against me and will make a issue out of nothing. She has told me that she has got a barrister for the court hearing and that after the barrister has finished with me she and the children won't have to deal with me at all. I have nothing to hide and have nothing derogatory against my name. I only want contact to see my children. Do you think it will be wise to arrange for a barrister myself. Ive read also that the court can also award something you don't expect. I'm happy for contact or full custody but am worried aboutabout joint custody because the children would be stuck in a battle field she's totally unreasonable likes making false allegations and I would end up paying for everything. She lives with the children in my home I live 50 miles away and am staying with my mum and can't afford to buy or rent a place nearer to her. Is it possible the court could consider this and tell me that I have to move nearer
Fil - 26-Mar-17 @ 6:30 PM
Don draper - Your Question:
HiI'm separated with the mom of my child since the beginning of 2017 (not married). I found a house for me and my daughter since three weeks.I have her 3 nights a week and two full days. I want to be able to provide for everything when she is with me and be sure that she understand that she's got two houses.I pay child maintenance, but the minimum because my incomes are not high. I wanted to ask for a child tax credit but my ex did it already.She's got around £500 or £600/ month plus her salary and my child maintenance.She earn double of my incomes.Is there anyway that she has to share the child tax credit with me ? And the fact that I have her 3 nights a week, is it a shared custody or considered as a weekly contact ?There is no mediation or court involved for the moment it is an agreement between her mom and me. Thank you

Our Response:
I'm afraid if your ex is considered the primary carer of your child, then she is entitled to claim child tax credits. Unfortunately, there is no law that says this must be shared and it is up to the discretion of the mother. I have to say, while there are a small amount of primary carers who will share this money to ensure their children are cared for across both houses, there are fewer who will concede to this arrangement.
SeparatedDads - 21-Mar-17 @ 11:14 AM
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