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Shared Custody of Your Children

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 12 Feb 2016 | 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.

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Jas - Your Question:
Currently my ex wife and I have what is called an 'informal agreement' between us, made by my solicitor. Fact is I have had to suffer every blow of actions my ex wife has made with regards to my three little girls since our divorce approx. 3 years ago. The law as always favoured my ex wife wishes even if I have known in my heart she has made some terrible decisions being Mother to our three girls. Any way to try and be brief, my ex wife moved to another town thirty miles away with our children. The agreement we currently have in place although I am not happy with aspects of it, I was told by my solicitor if I took it to court that I could finish up even worse off with regards to seeing our children. It states in the agreement that my ex wife is primary carer and that the children reside with her, although the children also have a home with me too. It was agreed that during term time, I pick the children up Friday's after school and they reside with me until my ex wife comes to pick them up again Sunday's at Mid day. This agreement as worked fine between us for approx. 2 years now, the children know what is happening and when Daddy goes for them. ect. Yesterday I received a phone call from my ex wife and in quite a rude and disrespectful manner she dictated to me ' Don't come to pick the children up when they break up for half term holidays tomorrow ( meaning for today 12/02/16 ) because they are staying with me this weekend and we are having a girly weekend ). Trying to keep things in context basically she has stopped me having our children at the times in our agreement I should. In return for her taking my days away from me with the children she has not so much as said have them an extra day during this school break and told me 'no' when I mentioned it. I really wanted to go pick the children up as normally but didn't want my ex wife causing any problems at the school in front of our children or other children. The children will not have been with me from mid day Sunday 7/2/16 and because my ex wife has made plans in time when the children should be with me I will not see them now until 17/2/16. I have emailed my solicitor and asked for advise but have had no reply today. Thought I would post this to see if anyone here can help. I am really feeling already stress and upset and also feel this is just the beginning of her attempting to lessen the children's contact with me. Our children have family and friends, people who love them on both our sides of the family but I cant help but feel she is trying to cut our children off more from me and my side of the family. Thanks for any advise or help.

Our Response:
I am sorry to hear this. I cannot understand why your solicitor has advised you not to take the matter to court, unless there is a reason why he/she thinks you may not be awarded regular access. The fact that you have had an agreement in place for the past two years, proves you have regular contact and therefore if the courts judge a continuation is in the best interests of your children, then your access would continue 'officially' and any refusal by your ex would be considered a breach. However, the courts would expect you to have suggested Mediation first in order to try to resolve the situation. It is a tricky question to answer as to take it to court could mean more upset, hurt and possibly access denied. However, many fathers get to the stage where they do not want their kids to be held to ransom and take the route to court. I'm afraid this is only something you can decide. You may find our Separated Dads Facebook page useful as many fathers who are going through the same, may be able to advise.
SeparatedDads - 12-Feb-16 @ 2:33 PM
Currently my ex wife and I have what is called an 'informal agreement' between us, made by my solicitor. Fact is I have had to suffer every blow of actions my ex wife has made with regards to my three little girls since our divorce approx. 3 years ago. The law as always favoured my ex wife wishes even if I have known in my heart she has made some terrible decisions being Mother to our three girls. Any way to try and be brief, my ex wife moved to another town thirty miles away with our children. The agreement we currently have in place although I am not happy with aspects of it, I was told by my solicitor if I took it to court that I could finish up even worse offwith regards to seeing our children. It states in the agreement that my ex wife is primary carer and that the children reside with her, although the children also have a home with me too. It was agreed that during term time, I pick the children up Friday's after school and they reside with me until my ex wife comes to pick them up again Sunday's at Mid day. This agreement as worked fine between us for approx. 2 years now, the children know what is happening and when Daddy goes for them. ect. Yesterday I received a phone call from my ex wife and in quite a rude and disrespectful manner she dictated to me ' Don't come to pick the children up when they break up for half term holidays tomorrow ( meaning for today 12/02/16 ) because they are staying with me this weekend and we are having a girly weekend ). Trying to keep things in context basically she has stopped me having our children at the times in our agreement I should. In return for her taking my days away from me with the children she has not so much as said have them an extra day during this school break and told me 'no' when I mentioned it. I really wanted to go pick the children up as normally but didn't want my ex wife causing any problems at the school in front of our children or other children. The children will not have been with me from mid day Sunday 7/2/16and because my ex wife has made plans in time when the children should be with me I will not see them now until 17/2/16. I have emailed my solicitor and asked for advise but have had no reply today. Thought I would post this to see if anyone here can help. I am really feeling already stress and upset and also feel this is just the beginning of her attempting to lessen the children's contact with me. Our children have family and friends, people who love them on both our sides of the family but I cant help but feel she is trying to cut our children off more from me and my side of the family. Thanks for any advise or help.
Jas - 12-Feb-16 @ 2:22 AM
MPE1973 - Your Question:
I am going through the court system with my ex at present. After £4k of solicitors fees and still not being at the final hearing I decided to represent myself at the direction hearing today. My ex is not capable of compromise, and so it has been listed for a final hearing. At the final hearing would the judge be able to order me to have my children on days/times which I have said I am not able?

Our Response:
Has Cafcass made a recommendation? The court will usually keep to what Cafcass says. Occasionally it can make a change, but the changes are minimal and rare.
SeparatedDads - 11-Feb-16 @ 1:57 PM
I am going through the court system with my ex at present.After £4k of solicitors fees and still not being at the final hearing I decided to represent myself at the direction hearing today.My ex is not capable of compromise, and so it has been listed for a final hearing.At the final hearing would the judge be able to order me to have my children on days/times which I have said I am not able?
MPE1973 - 10-Feb-16 @ 11:45 PM
Craig - Your Question:
Hi, my ex and I have currently split and we have a 16month old son. We are having joint custody of him. My problem is that my ex wants to put him into care when she works on the days that she has him, and wants me to pay half?! Im fortuante enough to be flexible with work and dont have to do this on the days I have him. Do I have to pay half of these fees eventhough its not on the days im responsible for him?Thanks

Our Response:
If you have shared-care of your child, and you were being down-the-middle fair, then theoretically yes, as you are both working towards the benefit of your son in a shared arrangement and what is best for him. However, there is also an argument against you having to pay money on days when your child's responsibility is not yours. Much also depends upon the balance of salary incomes etc. Therefore, I would suggest Mediation, if you can't agree between yourselves to see if a third-party may help you come to a conclusion. Please see link: Mediation: What is it and is it For Me? here. I hope this helps.
SeparatedDads - 9-Feb-16 @ 10:13 AM
k - Your Question:
Hi,My partner and his ex wife split nearly 6 years ago and we have had his two boys every other weekend friday to sunday every sunday for 3 hours when its not our weekend then he takes them to football every wednesday night.His ex has just this weekend threatened to take us to court and csa even tho we pay her 60 a week at her agreement straight into her bank never missed a payment, all because we got the dates mixed up and have booked to go away in march on our weekend to have the boys but said we would have them the weekend before and two weekends after, shes kicked off sending vile and abusive messages to me and my partner and stopped the boys from coming this weekend, im just wondering where she and we stand and if we could apply for joint cutody of them and if we did would we still pay full amout of maintinence etc.And what we can do to see the boys?Thanks

Our Response:
Unless there is acourt order in place, then your partner has committed no breach. Even if there was a court order in place, there has to be some degree of flexibility in child arrangements. If his ex has denied access and this is something that looks unlikely to calm down (if they can't agree between them and even after Mediation is suggested) then please see link to article: When Your Ex-Partner Denies You Access, here. With regards to applying for shared-custody, this is unlikely to be successful if it is a knee-jerk response to an argument. There are a lot of issues to be considered - so for this he would really need to seek some legal advice. If shared-parenting was awarded, then maintenance would be reduced if your partner had the children more frequently, but only if payments are administered through the CSA/CMS. However, if the maintenance agreement is family based, then how much he pays would still be agreed on through an informal basis between your partner and his ex. I hope this helps.
SeparatedDads - 9-Feb-16 @ 9:52 AM
Hi, My partner and his ex wife split nearly 6 years ago and we have had his two boys every other weekend friday to sunday every sunday for 3 hours when its not our weekend then he takes them to football every wednesday night. His ex has just this weekend threatened to take us to court and csa even tho we pay her 60 a week at her agreement straight into her bank never missed a payment, all because we got the dates mixed up and have booked to go away in march on our weekend to have the boys but said we would have them the weekend before and two weekends after, shes kicked off sending vile and abusive messages to me and my partner and stopped the boys from coming this weekend, im just wondering where she and we stand and if we could apply for joint cutody of them and if we did would we still pay full amout of maintinence etc. And what we can do to see the boys? Thanks
k - 8-Feb-16 @ 4:49 PM
Andy - Your Question:
My wife has left me. We have a 2 year old daughter and a house together.I'm buying her out, she is going to rent a property/buy a new house.We are cohabiting currently, and I'm supporting her and helping her find a home she's comfortable in.I assumed we'd have joint custody. I have a very supportive, local family who assist with child care where necessary, and through the week I often stay at home whilst my wife goes out. My wife has said she wants our daughter to live with her 5 days and me have her 2. but will be flexible to let me see her as often as I want.She seems to be doing her best to cooperate, but I'm not sure whether this arrangement is best for our daughter.The issue is, occasionally I work away.Are my hands tied here?Thank you

Our Response:
TWhen a couple split up, the best decisions are made mutually and the best results are when you and your ex can find a way to work together for the sake of your child and respect each other’s opinions. The article: Making Joint Decisions About Your Child's Future, heremay help. Of course, these such relationships exist in an ideal world and there may always be causes of differing opinions. However, rather than dragging situations like these through the courts, your best option may be Mediation, please see link: Mediation - What is it and is it for me? here. Mediation is somewhere between an informal agreement made between two people and court. I hope this helps.
SeparatedDads - 8-Feb-16 @ 12:05 PM
Hi, my ex and i have currently split and we have a 16month old son. We are having joint custody of him. My problem is that my ex wants to put him into care when she works on the days that she has him, and wants me to pay half?! Im fortuante enough to be flexible with work and dont have to do this on the days i have him. Do i have to pay half of these fees eventhough its not on the days im responsible for him? Thanks
Craig - 8-Feb-16 @ 11:12 AM
My wife has left me. We have a 2 year old daughter and a house together. I'm buying her out, she is going to rent a property/buy a new house. We are cohabiting currently, and I'm supporting her and helping her find a home she's comfortable in. I assumed we'd have joint custody. I have a very supportive, local family who assist with child care where necessary, and through the week I often stay at home whilst my wife goes out. My wife has said she wants our daughter to live with her 5 days and me have her 2... but will be flexible to let me see her as often as I want. She seems to be doing her best to cooperate, but I'm not sure whether this arrangement is best for our daughter. The issue is, occasionally I work away... Are my hands tied here? Thank you
Andy - 7-Feb-16 @ 5:00 PM
dadlost - Your Question:
HiI have a joint custody order it took 2.5 years. I know that the mums will say anything in court to stop you seeing you kids. I was abusive alcoholic, drug addict etc. all involved court appearances tests etc. She is mentally ill and cannot cope with them. My kids are 3, 5 and 14. she has social services round and the kids are known to them. On I go fighting to give them a proper home. There is no financial support for me. I can be homeless tomorrow and because I don't control the child benefit I am not a parent even though they live with me 50% of the time. I am going back in April to try for full custody providing I am not homeless. I cant work except part time as I get no say or help with child care. Its a constant battle. Social services will use you due to a lack of funding to get the kids away from a negligent mum. my kids are priceless so the 15k spent so far is worth it. Don't give up dads we are just as important and have a lot to offer. fight on. my only question would be how many times do social services need to visit before someone says this is not right and go with a dad full time. the system is biased and the welfare system only sees child benefit as the way to get help including housing. We are in a sexist society

Our Response:
If you are finding it difficult to pay the legal fees, have you thought of self-litigation? Many fathers are taking this route and are having success, if they prepare their cases well. Please see link: How to Represent Yourself, here and the Bar Council - Guide to Representing Yourself in Court here which is highly informative. Also, you may wish to look at our Separated Dads Facebook page, where if you scroll down and read the postings which apply to you, you'll find some great advice from dads who have been through similar situations before and have come out the other side.
SeparatedDads - 4-Feb-16 @ 10:18 AM
Hi I have a joint custody order it took 2.5 years. I know that the mums will say anything in court to stop you seeing you kids. I was abusive alcoholic, drug addict etc. all involved court appearances tests etc. She is mentally ill and cannot cope with them. My kids are 3, 5 and 14. she has social services round and the kids are known to them. On I go fighting to give them a proper home. There is no financial support for me. I can be homeless tomorrow and because I don't control the child benefit I am not a parent even though they live with me 50% of the time. I am going back in April to try for full custody providing I am not homeless. I cant work except part time as I get no say or help with child care. Its a constant battle . Social services will use you due to a lack of funding to get the kids away from a negligent mum. my kids are priceless so the 15k spent so far is worth it. Don't give up dads we are just as important and have a lot to offer. fight on. my only question would be how many times do social services need to visit before someone says this is not right and go with a dad full time. the system is biased and the welfare system only sees child benefit as the way to get help including housing. We are in a sexist society
dadlost - 3-Feb-16 @ 11:26 AM
Having observed divorce from the perspective of my son and his unstinting efforts to gain custody of his two children or even more equitable contact I have concluded that the law, custom and practice and society in general is heavily weighted to the desires and demands of the mother.As a woman I have sadly had to acknowledge how spiteful and manipulative most women are following separation and divorce even though in many instances they are the instigator. In my experience even as a qual social worker it is only if a mother dies, walks away or commits a significant crime e.g.child abuse that the father is likely to have an opportunity to secure custody of their children.Furthermore fathers are essentially required to buy their children I as much as they are the ones that have to present their case in a court of law with associated legal fees yet the mother can immediately assume custody is hers. Sorry dads you really do need to seek equity I the true and actual sense, women are always seeking more equality yet you as men and fathers are in my view discriminated against without question.I have to add I don't expect anyone to remain in a violent or abusive relationship but the dissolution of many relationships have nothing to do with such difficulties. We hear frequently about the housing crisis yet no reference to the fact that each family these days needs 2 homes - mum and children in one with dad in another (if he can afford one) in order to spend time with his children.
M - 30-Jan-16 @ 10:22 PM
hi i separated from my partner when my 2 boys were 1 and 2.. she moved away i travelled 2 hrs each way on a friday every weekend to get them for the weekend.. this went on for a year or so.. then one day she stopped me seeing them. she had a new partner who didmt like me omn the scene.. he tried to become daddy!! i didnt see my sons for months,, so i went through the courts and caffcass etc.. it took me months,, i was made out by her to be a violent animal.. they tried every story to deney me access, even calling me a peadophile because i bathed with my kids.. eventaully i was given every other weekend.. years have passed and she is with another new partner who unfortuantly is even worse,, a complete control freak,, he has even hoiyt my son who is now 10.. i went through the nspcc but nothing has happend. i have moved within 5 miles of my boys now and see them every other weekend and a tues night.. i want more aaccess maybe a thursday night,,, better still shared or full custordy... my dream is for the biys to live with me and eventually move to australia.. i was wondering if anyone knew the best way to get more access or full custordy and if i did could i move overseas with them... theres so unhappy at her home,, its awful thx
deeeeeeeeeee - 20-Jan-16 @ 5:06 PM
I am a woman and reading all these stories breaks my heart.I have never truly understood how one sided separations can be for the father.The woman seems to hold all the power without any concern for the child and their well being and happiness (of course this is not all women).I separated from my husband 2 years ago and we had an amicable separation.I always allowed him to see the kids when he wanted and everything has worked out smoothly. In the last year I have met and fallen hopelessly in love with my new partner and the parental alienation that he is experiencing makes my heart break and blood boil.He has the kids (sometimes) every second weekend.She will not allow the kids to stay overnight.He rings the kids nightly at 7 which is the time agreed by both him and his ex wife yet the phone is always turned off.We sent her a list of 17 days that he could have the kids over the school holidays - she agreed to 4.Before the kids leave to go home they are hysterical and devastated wondering when they are going to see their father next.This is made even harder due to the fact that he used to be a stay at home dad. I find it perplexing that the father has no power, no say and no choices in these situations.The woman holds all the power. My heart bleeds for all you fathers out there that dearly want a relationship with your child and this bond is being jeopardized because of a bitter, hurt partner.Please don't give up and keep fighting for your right to have your kids because they are as much yours as they are your ex partners.
bubbles - 30-Dec-15 @ 6:30 AM
Hi, I was looking for some advice if possible please. My wife and I were with each other for almost 10 years and married for just under 2. We have a little girl who is now 17 months, we separated when she was 8 months. Since then as is normal I guess, things have been up and down. Our daughter stays with mum and I see her 4:15am-7:30pm on a Tuesday and 9:30am-2pm on a Sunday. Generally this has been the setup for the last 9 months. On several occasions I have asked for more time and have been rejected with the reasons ranging from "you see her enough as is", "some dad's get less than what you get" and so on. I give my wife more money than I am technically due to, buy the little one things all the time over and above this and yet nothing seems good enough. I don't want any thanks for this as it is the correct thing to do and I am not the kind to shirk responsibility. I bought some additional clothes the other day only to be questioned as to where they came from. My wife did not believe I bought them and was not willing to use them unless I could prove that I bought them (which I did go onto do). I also said that I had some extra clothes at my new flat. Response was that she dressed our daughter and there was no need for me to have any clothes at my place. I am the only one from my side of the family who is allowed direct contact. My wife will not allow my mum and dad or brother and fiancee (who are both God parents to daughter) direct access and so I need to share my time with her with them. Things are getting better slowly I think but that is now 9 months passed and some things are not getting better at all. From the start I have wanted my little girl overnight and to have her as much as possible. I would have shared access if I could but her mum is not for that at all. Granted it has to be in the child's best interest and fit with schedules etc but it's not even an option. Just point blank refusal. I feel as if I am a complete doormat in this situation and what she says goes with me having no choice but to go along with it all to keep the peace. I know in the long run this is the best solution and way to a better relationship between us but at what point do I need to say enough is enough and some things have to chance. It just feels like I am the one giving ground all the time. Things would be so much better all round if she would allow my family direct access but it might need to go to court for this and this is the last thing I am wanting. Do her actions seem possessive? I am quite an understanding guy and so fully get that the more I see my daughter the less my wife will and so by default that would hurt her. Any help or advice appreciated. Thanks
Karl - 29-Dec-15 @ 12:38 PM
Hi, I was looking for some advice if possible please. My wife and I were with each other for almost 10 years and married for just under 2. We have a little girl who is now 17 months, we separated when she was 8 months. Since then as is normal I guess, things have been up and down. Our daughter stays with mum and I see her 4:15am-7:30pm on a Tuesday and 9:30am-2pm on a Sunday. Generally this has been the setup for the last 9 months. On several occasions I have asked for more time and have been rejected with the reasons ranging from "you see her enough as is", "some dad's get less than what you get" and so on. I give my wife more money than I am technically due to, buy the little one things all the time over and above this and yet nothing seems good enough. I don't want any thanks for this as it is the correct thing to do and I am not the kind to shirk responsibility. I bought some additional clothes the other day only to be questioned as to where they came from. My wife did not believe I bought them and was not willing to use them unless I could prove that I bought them (which I did go onto do). I also said that I had some extra clothes at my new flat. Response was that she dressed our daughter and there was no need for me to have any clothes at my place. I am the only one from my side of the family who is allowed direct contact. My wife will not allow my mum and dad or brother and fiancee (who are both God parents to daughter) direct access and so I need to share my time with her with them. Things are getting better slowly I think but that is now 9 months passed and some things are not getting better at all. From the start I have wanted my little girl overnight and to have her as much as possible. I would have shared access if I could but her mum is not for that at all. Granted it has to be in the child's best interest and fit with schedules etc but it's not even an option. Just point blank refusal. I feel as if I am a complete doormat in this situation and what she says goes with me having no choice but to go along with it all to keep the peace. I know in the long run this is the best solution and way to a better relationship between us but at what point do I need to say enough is enough and some things have to chance. It just feels like I am the one giving ground all the time. Things would be so much better all round if she would allow my family direct access but it might need to go to court for this and this is the last thing I am wanting. Do her actions seem possessive? I am quite an understanding guy and so fully get that the more I see my daughter the less my wife will and so by default that would hurt her. Any help or advice appreciated. Thanks
Karl - 29-Dec-15 @ 12:35 PM
Hi, I was looking for some advice if possible please. My wife and I were with each other for almost 10 years and married for just under 2. We have a little girl who is now 17 months, we separated when she was 8 months. Since then as is normal I guess, things have been up and down. Our daughter stays with mum and I see her 4:15am-7:30pm on a Tuesday and 9:30am-2pm on a Sunday. Generally this has been the setup for the last 9 months. On several occasions I have asked for more time and have been rejected with the reasons ranging from "you see her enough as is", "some dad's get less than what you get" and so on. I give my wife more money than I am technically due to, buy the little one things all the time over and above this and yet nothing seems good enough. I don't want any thanks for this as it is the correct thing to do and I am not the kind to shirk responsibility. I bought some additional clothes the other day only to be questioned as to where they came from. My wife did not believe I bought them and was not willing to use them unless I could prove that I bought them (which I did go onto do). I also said that I had some extra clothes at my new flat. Response was that she dressed our daughter and there was no need for me to have any clothes at my place. I am the only one from my side of the family who is allowed direct contact. My wife will not allow my mum and dad or brother and fiancee (who are both God parents to daughter) direct access and so I need to share my time with her with them. Things are getting better slowly I think but that is now 9 months passed and some things are not getting better at all. From the start I have wanted my little girl overnight and to have her as much as possible. I would have shared access if I could but her mum is not for that at all. Granted it has to be in the child's best interest and fit with schedules etc but it's not even an option. Just point blank refusal. I feel as if I am a complete doormat in this situation and what she says goes with me having no choice but to go along with it all to keep the peace. I know in the long run this is the best solution and way to a better relationship between us but at what point do I need to say enough is enough and some things have to chance. It just feels like I am the one giving ground all the time. Things would be so much better all round if she would allow my family direct access but it might need to go to court for this and this is the last thing I am wanting. Do her actions seem possessive? I am quite an understanding guy and so fully get that the more I see my daughter the less my wife will and so by default that would hurt her. Any help or advice appreciated. Thanks
Karl - 29-Dec-15 @ 12:24 PM
Thank you for this article. Please can you add in more detail, or even better, give direct links to the research which demonstrates how beneficial shared custody can be for children, especially when there is animosity/acrimony between the parents. Thank you.
Snowbell - 18-Dec-15 @ 12:36 PM
abbzy - Your Question:
Hi,i would like to find out if a eight year old child can make her own decisions regarding contacts and residency?

Our Response:
It generally about the age of 11 when children begin to be consulted properly by Cafcass regarding residency and contact. Also, while their opinion may be asked and they will be listened to, it is still up to the court to decide whether it is in the child's best interests.
SeparatedDads - 16-Dec-15 @ 12:37 PM
hi, i would like to find out if a eight year old child can make her own decisions regarding contacts and residency?
abbzy - 15-Dec-15 @ 6:35 PM
Daddyooo - Your Question:
I am a divorced dad and I have a contact order to see my 7 year old daughter 1 night over night in the week and every other weekend 10 am sat to 6:30 pm Sunday but my ex takes her to swimming lessons which my ex will not let me take her so it's closer to 11 am on sat before I can collect my daughter. I have asked my ex for more time with my daughter but she is unwilling to let me have more time she has just admitted to struggling with her own mental illness and I feel that it would be of benefit to both my ex and my daughter if my daughter spent more time with me for her emotional well being. What I want to ask is wether it's worth going to mediation or just applying to the court for shared residence order.

Our Response:
If you apply for a court order, the court will request that you try mediation first. The court will not consider your application, unless your ex refuses to attend mediation.
SeparatedDads - 15-Dec-15 @ 11:56 AM
hi, on 21st of sept this year I removed my then 18 month old son from our family home due to welfare issues, in short eating out of bin constant mess dog poo and his mother who was main carer thought this was acceptable, I worked fulltime and the hours where long. after things came to a head, where my son locked himself in the kitchen and myex partner was sitting 3 meters from the kitchen engrossed in EastEnders and her ipad, and I was in the bedroom at time, my son began screaming I went to his aid and his mother just shrugged her shoulders, now anything could have happened in the kitchen thankfully all was well. So for the past 10 weeks my son and I have been staying at my parents a temporary move and I was granted interim custody, during this period myex lodged a complaint of historical assault (not true) and a bar report was carried out where again I raised all my concerns. However when I read the bar report it was very obvious that the report favoured the mother as everything se claimed was written as fact and everything I claimed was alleged, during the interview we had a conversation about work where I said I liked working but was more than happy to be a stay at home father to my son and once he was of age of going to pre school I could look for part time work, this whole conversation was not submitted into the report other than it said I want to return to work, so on that the report favoured my ex and my son is now back with her, even though the sheriff has concerns about my claims. my problem is now if I want to have shared residency of my son I have to find somewhere closer by to live and because my job demands long hours I now have to find a new job in that area and as was pointed out to me the less I work the more contact I can have, I feel as if I am being punished for working and earning money for my family, and after talking with a few people who have had bar reports it would seem that today these reporters still have the attitude that child is best with mother and the sheriff/judge should not rely on the report as they do, as in our case what was in the bar report contradicted nearly everything in her affidavit or was added to with great flourish and was put down matter of factually. It has already been less than a wee since all this took place and already she is being awkward but as far as the court is concerned I have till the 7 jan to sort out a new home and work or sign on to benefit street. I went to court and told the truth and have evidence as well she went to court and lied and even with concerns of the sheriff she now has my son, this was our third time in court and twice before then the sheriff was in my favour, but becauseone person makes a decision, I feel now I am being punished. Now I know its not wise to challenge a bar report and have read of people who have done and ended up having to pay damages to the reporter, but would it be worth while going for proof and if so would it be a different sheriff that wou
andy1r - 14-Dec-15 @ 3:22 PM
I am a divorced dad and I have a contact order to see my 7 year old daughter 1 night over night in the week and every other weekend 10 am sat to 6:30 pm Sunday but my extakes her to swimming lessons which my ex will not let me take her so it's closer to 11 am on sat before I can collect my daughter. I have asked my ex for more time with my daughter but she is unwilling to let me have more time she has just admitted to struggling with her own mental illness and I feel that it would be of benefit to both my ex and my daughter if my daughter spent more time with me for her emotional well being. What I want to ask is wether it's worth going to mediation or just applying to the court for shared residence order.
Daddyooo - 12-Dec-15 @ 11:02 PM
SK2016 - Your Question:
Hi I've read the threads above and thought I would join in. I live in spain where both my wife and I used to live with our children. things went a little south financially, and I do believe she had a mental breakdown, the divorce was really messy, though it should not have been, partly due to her family and group of friends making things worse. Finally, I agreed that she could return to the UK with the kids and I was given joint custody. Since then, I have made sure I travel to the UK twice a month, and pay for flights, hotel, cars, food etc, which as you can imagine is not cheap - especially being paid in euros! However, I put my relationship first with my children, which has worked well. My children never wanted to live with their mother, as I was really the primary carer, but being a man, this was never a consideration. Since then things have not really gone very well, I do believe she has never fully recovered from her illness, though no one does anything about this, she has a fit every time my children ask me to intervene on their behalf over issues with either what she or her parents have done or made them do, she has recently taken up with a "character" who runs a pub, whose daughter is a stripper and lives in the pub and whose kids - well if they are not dealing drugs I would be very surprised. She refuses to speak about these issues as well, and he has threatened me on facebook! typical. Anyway, I have decided that I am moving back to the UK, as I tried to have this matter dealt with here in spain, and the judge threw it out of court as the kids are now living in the UK - a UK court would again take the womans side. I have realised that the law is sexist and being a man, you are looked upon as someone who is not able to look after your children, even if this is what they are asking for! Its absolutely absurd! So my question to the forum is this.I am going to move to the UK, as it seems to me this is the only way my children will not only have a choice but a chance.i.e. if they want to live with me they can. However, is this legal? I have full joint custody as this was awarded in spain rather than england, which I am sure would have delivered a different verdict. So if I move to the UK, where the kids go to school and they don't wish to return to their mothers house, can anyone do anything against me?Having suffered this for the past two years, I do believe their is a need for a full re evaluation of how men and fathers are treated by women, many of whom should not be allowed to look after their children and do so purely for the tax credits they get. Also if they decide to hook up with people who are not suitable, why do the courts and the law not do anything about it! We have many young children who are victims of abuse, based on this antiquated system which labels all women regardless of their situation as suitable mums, whilst categorising men as being inferior in this respect.SK2016

Our Response:
You don't say how old your children are. However, if they are over the age of 11, then their opinions regarding who they may prefer to live with will be taken into consideration. Although, despite this, there is no guarantee you would be awarded joint custody, or sole custody if you apply through the courts again. Therefore, I cannot advise you over what decision you should take, as there is no way of predicting what the courts may decide. It would first of all have to go through Cafcass, see link: What Goes into the Cafcass Family Report? herewhich will give the option for both parents to have their say.
SeparatedDads - 1-Dec-15 @ 12:17 PM
Hi I've read the threads above and thought i would join in.I live in spain where both my wife and I used to live with our children.things went a little south financially, and I do believe she had a mental breakdown, the divorce was really messy, though it should not have been, partly due to her family and group of friends making things worse.Finally, I agreed that she could return to the UK with the kids and I was given joint custody.Since then, I have made sure I travel to the UK twice a month, and pay for flights, hotel, cars, food etc, which as you can imagine is not cheap - especially being paid in euros!However, I put my relationship first with my children, which has worked well.My children never wanted to live with their mother, as I was really the primary carer, but being a man, this was never a consideration.Since then things have not really gone very well, I do believe she has never fully recovered from her illness, though no one does anything about this, she has a fit every time my children ask me to intervene on their behalf over issues with either what she or her parents have done or made them do, she has recently taken up with a "character" who runs a pub, whose daughter is a stripper and lives in the pub and whose kids - well if they are not dealing drugs I would be very surprised.She refuses to speak about these issues as well, and he has threatened me on facebook!typical.Anyway, I have decided that I am moving back to the UK, as I tried to have this matter dealt with here in spain, and the judge threw it out of court as the kids are now living in the UK - a UK court would again take the womans side.I have realised that the law is sexist and being a man, you are looked upon as someone who is not able to look after your children, even if this is what they are asking for!Its absolutely absurd!So my question to the forum is this. I am going to move to the UK, as it seems to me this is the only way my children will not only have a choice but a chance...i.e. if they want to live with me they can.However, is this legal?I have full joint custody as this was awarded in spain rather than england, which I am sure would have delivered a different verdict.So if I move to the UK, where the kids go to school and they don't wish to return to their mothers house, can anyone do anything against me? Having suffered this for the past two years, I do believe their is a need for a full re evaluation of how men and fathers are treated by women, many of whom should not be allowed to look after their children and do so purely for the tax credits they get.Also if they decide to hook up with people who are not suitable, why do the courts and the law not do anything about it!We have many young children who are victims of abuse, based on this antiquated system which labels all women regardless of their situation as suitable mums, whilst categorising men as being inferior in this respect. SK2016
SK2016 - 30-Nov-15 @ 12:33 PM
LilH - Your Question:
Good Evening,My partner (the father) and I have joint custody of his children, there was never any official agreement made through the courts.I am wondering if you could advise. I am looking for the best online rescource regarding the financial legalities of joint custody- primarily if the mother is a 'single' parent and the father (my fiancé) isnt?Many Thanks In advanceH

Our Response:
There are no real financial legalities if you have a family-based agreement. Formalities only arise if one parent decides to go to the CMS for child maintenance, otherwise how each parents supports their children will be decided between themselves.
SeparatedDads - 25-Nov-15 @ 11:42 AM
Good Evening, My partner (the father) and I have joint custody of his children, there was never any official agreement made through the courts. I am wondering if you could advise. I am looking for the best online rescource regarding the financial legalities of joint custody- primarily if the mother is a 'single' parent and the father (my fiancé) isnt? Many Thanks In advance H
LilH - 24-Nov-15 @ 5:51 PM
Hi , I am having trouble with my sons mum. My son is 4 months old. Myself and his mum split before he was born and to be straight it wasn't ideal or the best of times during the split. Since the day my son was born I have done nothing but be there for him and try to be the best I can be for him. To get to the point his mother has made it very difficult for me to have a proper relationship with my son she uses him as a weapon against me . She is abusive and has made out on social media that I do not bother , her friends and family have made comments and threats towards me also. I have not responded to this and just gone about my business. She has stated that unless I pay I won't see him although she is fully aware of my situation and I have paid as and when I can and even when I have had little money. I have had issues with work but due to being long term sick for personal reasons I am only receiving statuary sick pay. She has also stated that as long as I am with my new partner I will have no contact . I have all this evidenced .she refused to have me on his birth certificate also.Changing the date of the appointment that I had originally made . She has offered me a pathetic amount of time with my son each week , this ino is to try and get a reaction from me. She has been abusive to my partner also as have her friends and family, her family members have even gone as far as talking to my other sons mother and threatening me to her and even my son. Can anyone advise me or give me info in regards to spared custody and any thoughts on this matter as I'm struggling and I do not know what direction to turn... thanks
DCfrustrated - 21-Nov-15 @ 2:46 AM
Johndigweed - Your Question:
Me and my wife separated recently but we both work odd shifts. I work nights (8pm-6am)and she works a combination of days (9-4.30)and afternoons(3.30-9.30) I curantly pick my daughter up from school and take her to her grandmother at 7pm on a Monday and Tuesday. The grandmother has her on the Wednesday.with my daughter staying with me on Thursday and her mother on Friday. I asked for my daughter to stay with me on the Monday night as well, this was agreed to in a family based agreement but still hasn't happened. Whenever I bring the topic up I don't get a response out of my ex-wife. Any advice to address this issue?

Our Response:
If you can't agree between yourselves, then you could try mediation, please see link: Mediation: What is it and is it For Me? here.
SeparatedDads - 18-Nov-15 @ 2:44 PM
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