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Shared Custody of Your Children

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 20 Jan 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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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
My partner and I split last year jan 2019. I had two orders wrongfully served against me which prevented me from going near my property or communicating with my ex partner. I didn’t agree to the admissions made in court but agreed to the court order as my ex and her solicitor said I could see my son twice a week and they would get the house sold and me paid out. After the court date , my ex changed contact to once’s a day on Sunday for 6 hours. In the last 15 months , I have seen my son for a total of 2weeks! ... the orders have now expired, I still have no communication with my ex but she will still only allowing me to see my son once a week. I am self employed and work from home. I want to apply for joint custody of my son. Does anyone have an idea of how it works in this country and if a father gets these kind of rights?
Sam - 22-May-20 @ 7:08 PM
If both blparents drive should it be shared between both parents of picking up and dropping our son to each others house as all I keep getting is, he lives with me you wanna se him you come get him, I also have to drop him off everytime aswell
Lee - 20-May-20 @ 6:41 PM
Hi, I am the rare father that has the majority of care for our child. He lives with me full time and is due to start infants in September. His mother is asking for a 50/50 arrangement when before now it's been every other weekend. I live in Ringwood and she lives Salisbury which is a 40 min drive on a good day. She doesn't drive so is reliant on buses or lifts. Please help, I've said that it would be impossible with that much travelling and the ability to get to school on time.
Rich - 10-May-20 @ 11:53 AM
Hi, if anyone could advise please it would be amazing. Recently mutually separated and agreed on shared custody. I have worked from home and have cared for my 3 children since they were born. I wanted to care for them and be their for them after the separation and care for my children 60% of the time. My ex changed jobs from a 9-5 job which was practical and good for child care routines, to shift work, long days 7:15am to 8:30pm. I have worked out a routine so that the kids are not being dropped off and collected from me at unreasonable and undisruptive times for the children. When she went for the job she said they agreed to set days for her shifts and she agreed to get this in place. I am now having to keep asking her to get set days as she is giving me different shift days each week. basically I am having the children when she tells me i need to have them. I am also there for them when she has appointment etc, no questions asked.Am I entitled to have some kind of routine and life as she seems to be in a position to arrange her shifts to match her boyfriends. Thank you!
Gray - 8-May-20 @ 10:32 PM
Hi, if anyone could advise please it would be amazing. Recently mutually separated and agreed on shared custody. I have worked from home and have cared for my 3 children since they were born. I wanted to care for them and be their for them after the separation and care for my children 60% of the time. My ex changed jobs from a 9-5 job which was practical and good for child care routines, to shift work, long days 7:15am to 8:30pm. I have worked out a routine so that the kids are not being dropped off and collected from me at unreasonable and undisruptive times for the children. When she went for the job she said they agreed to set days for her shifts and she agreed to get this in place. I am now having to keep asking her to get set days as she is giving me different shift days each week. basically I am having the children when she tells me i need to have them. I am also there for them when she has appointment etc, no questions asked.Am I entitled to have some kind of routine and life as she seems to be in a position to arrange her shifts to match her boyfriends. Thank you!
Gray - 8-May-20 @ 10:22 PM
Hi, if anyone could advise please it would be amazing. Recently mutually separated and agreed on shared custody. I have worked from home and have cared for my 3 children since they were born. I wanted to care for them and be their for them after the separation and care for my children 60% of the time. My ex changed jobs from a 9-5 job which was practical and good for child care routines, to shift work, long days 7:15am to 8:30pm. I have worked out a routine so that the kids are not being dropped off and collected from me at unreasonable and undisruptive times for the children. When she went for the job she said they agreed to set days for her shifts and she agreed to get this in place. I am now having to keep asking her to get set days as she is giving me different shift days each week. basically I am having the children when she tells me i need to have them. I am also there for them when she has appointment etc, no questions asked.Am I entitled to have some kind of routine and life as she seems to be in a position to arrange her shifts to match her boyfriends. Thank you!
Gray - 8-May-20 @ 10:05 PM
I need some advice. My wife has split up from me. I see my daughter ever day and she stops at mine on the weekends. My ex wife is saying that I need to have our daughter 4 nights one week and 3 the other. This is just not possible due to my work. What can I do. I have explained this but she will not listen. She just wants it her way it no way
Tank - 8-May-20 @ 5:51 PM
How can I go about to get 50-50 custady of my son when I gave his mother basically full control when he was born I have never been out of his life but the week end thing don't work for me I don't pay matinence as she gets the money for him a boy needs to be round their father more than time than Friday tea time to Sunday night when has to go back to mother
Pj - 14-Apr-20 @ 4:30 AM
Has anyone got any idea about changing a court order during this crisis as to more access. I want my son week on week off at the moment as not working during this crisi
Ed - 2-Apr-20 @ 3:57 PM
I'm in separation with my wife, we have a daughter and have agreed to go 50/50 shared custody. How Could we possibly get that done through court legally without solicitors involved?
Kerfonse - 26-Mar-20 @ 8:04 PM
My son and his wife split up last year and they have a little boy together they have shared custody will this be able to carry on now as these new rules have come into place to keep everyone safe I totally understand if he can not have his son as normal just need to find out the facts thank you Sharon
Shazza - 24-Mar-20 @ 8:24 AM
Hi, Please can anyone answer the following question if possible. I currently live around 25 miles away from my children. For the past 3 years I have driven and picked my kids up from their moms every Friday and have taken them back either on the Saturday evening or sunday morning, however, with the latest news and rules set out by the government over the coronavirus, it explains that I would not be able to pick my kids up for the next 3 weeks plus. I am not a key worker, but can anyone confirm if there is something I can do to get around this matter?
Dave - 24-Mar-20 @ 4:19 AM
@bernie.as I read these posts .i never payed child support or payed for schooling or Sporting clubs .or even (seen )the child .(sounds expensive ).i like to (think) I could be like that involved with the (child )sharing custody making memories with child . like some off my (mates do )and I do wish I could be like that and I am a (bit jealous )when I see my mates with there children it makes me (think) if I only went to (court all those years ago) that could off been (me And my child) .but in (reality) that is not going to happen for me my child is no (child anymore )and wouldn’t even( remember me in reality)it’s been over a (decade) .the child is most likely living in her own flat with boyfriend or friends bye now .oh well (it is what is )can’t live in the what if’s and differently can’t turn back the clock .
Chris - 5-Feb-20 @ 10:46 PM
I separated from my wife last year (she had an affair) we both work full time, i earn more than my ex, we both live in rental properties and we share custody 50/50, one week our 3 kids, (15,12 & 9) live with me the next week with their mother and so on, i have been paying child maintenance to my wife since May last year. This was a figure i obtained from the HMRC web-site and was not arranged via solicitors. My question is should i actually need to be paying anything if we are sharing child care and sharing costs for after school clubs, uniform, clothing, food etc any advice gladly accepted thanks
Bernie - 5-Feb-20 @ 8:37 PM
I am currently going through a divorce and have two children with my ex. I have them every weekend unless they are on holiday with their mum and I have them on a Monday night for football training. I pay for them all weekend pay her over and above what she’s entitled too in child maintenance and pay their hair cuts etc we have days out and they are well looked after in my home when their with me. But then Christmas comes and she gets awkward. All I’m allowed is two-five hours Xmas day, never a Xmas eve or a full day any day, even Boxing Day to celebrate it. Is she allowed to do this ? Is it my right for it to be shared 50/50 on special occasions ?
Seany - 9-Dec-19 @ 3:44 PM
(This is my final post) ,I will never talk to my (child’s mother again) it will (never) be (civil) between us (gods truth) .and if they think it’s( just time) and I will come around (think again gods truth ).there will be no shared custody, there will be no child support paid .there will be no friends with ex’s there will be no visitation.(it will remain the same us it has for the (last 10 years ).and every thing will be (fine) .i truly wish them well in life .(goodbye and god bless.)
C w l - 13-Nov-19 @ 11:34 PM
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