Home > Legal > Shared Custody of Your Children

Shared Custody of Your Children

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 29 Apr 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.

** NEW** Separated Dads Chat Room & Forum

The Separated Dads Forum is a place where you can discuss relevant issues and concerns including Child Access, Maintenance, CAFCASS, Fathers Rights, Court, Behaviour or just have a general chat with other dads.

Please help us launch it and make it a great resource for dads going through difficult times. We hope to see you on the Forum soon....

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
Hi there, I'm wanting shared custody of my kids We have them Friday night , Saturday night, and they go home on Sunday, I beleive my ex's boyfriend isn't right to be around my kids so I am wanting to have them around me a lot more, I have a good job and and good family to help me out, what the the chances of representing myself in court and winning, I don't beleive she will agree with it as she is more bothered about taking me to the cleaners for money.. Hope to hear from you soon ??
Mike - 29-Apr-16 @ 11:07 AM
Hi all if anyone could give help I be much appreciated. I'm taking my ex back to court full custody knowing I'm not going to receive that my solicitor might have given me false hope. I am ASDA 50 50 Shared Care living arrangements but I don't know how to put it in writing to the courts can anyone help what I should expect to get if I get 50 50. I'm at the as they already know half full school holidays bank holidays rotations Christmas and stuff like that but I don't know how the weekly living arrangements go, can anyone help thank you
Martin - 27-Apr-16 @ 9:01 PM
corey - Your Question:
I and my ex separated 13 years ago ive not seen children for 10 years.plus have no idea were about there are my son 19 and my daughter 18, just need help what to do next

Our Response:
Now your daughter and son are adults then you can approach them without going to through the courts. Social media is one way that you may be able to find them, or you may wish to use a professional tracing service, also the Living People link heremay help along with the Salvation Army's Reuniting Families, please see link here. I hope this helps.
SeparatedDads - 25-Apr-16 @ 12:30 PM
Joey- Your Question:
Hi all, my child's mother and I have been separated for around 7 years now and the access hasn't really changed much. I am looking to see if I can gain joint custody as I am fed up of arguing over minutes and times. I have very little access at the moment. I have him from 1pm-7pm on a Sunday one week and then the following week I have him on a Saturday from 5pm till Sunday 4pm. I'm pretty sure this is a fraction of what I could get if I went to court. I have done mediation and not really got anywhere. I am now in the position to afford court so I was just wondering if anybody could shed some light on what I can expect or how I go about it. Thanks in advance

Our Response:
You may in this instance find our Separated Dads forum useful for this sort of advice as many fathers have been through similar situations before and can therefore give some good advice. However, it is highly unlikely a court would issue shared care if you do not have your child very often. The courts usualy only consent to shared care when the parents agree to it. However, this is not to say you wouldn't be granted more access, especially if you have been on the same access routine since you split up seven years ago.
SeparatedDads - 25-Apr-16 @ 12:20 PM
Adz84 - Your Question:
Me and my ex split up in Feb, I work nights but I currently have my son Monday to Thursday from 3pm until 7pm, I then have him 3pm Friday until 7pm Saturday, and 10am Sunday until 9am Monday. I want joint custody officially as I don't want her to be able to just chop and change as she feels like it, what chance would I have legally to get joint custody of him, there is no neglect issue from her or anything like that, I feel we are both good parents and both have great relationship with him, but issues between us has caused her to be vindictive at times.Thanks

Our Response:
Joint custody is usually agreed between parents and it is preferred that both parents are in agreement. The court will usually decide that one parent is classed as the primary carer and the other the non-resident parent, even though the time spent with your child may be very nearly equal. Therefore, it is very difficult to anticipate what a court may decide. If you have occasional disagreements with your ex, but otherwise the parenting is pretty evenly split, then you may wish to contemplate Mediation instead to iron out your differences, please see link: Mediation: What is it and is it For Me? here. I hope this helps.
SeparatedDads - 25-Apr-16 @ 10:49 AM
I and my ex separated 13 years agoive not seen children for 10 years.plus have no idea were about there are my son 19 and my daughter 18, just need help what to do next
corey - 24-Apr-16 @ 6:51 PM
Hi all, my child's mother and I have been separated for around 7 years now and the access hasn't really changed much. I am looking to see if I can gain joint custody as I am fed up of arguing over minutes and times. I have very little access at the moment. I have him from 1pm-7pm on a Sunday one week and then the following week I have him on a Saturday from 5pm till Sunday 4pm. I'm pretty sure this is a fraction of what I could get if I went to court. I have done mediation and not really got anywhere. I am now in the position to afford court so I was just wondering if anybody could shed some light on what I can expect or how I go about it. Thanks in advance
Joey - 24-Apr-16 @ 6:11 PM
Me and my ex split up in Feb, I work nights but I currently have my son Monday to Thursday from 3pm until 7pm, I then have him 3pm Friday until 7pm Saturday, and 10am Sunday until 9am Monday. I want joint custody officially as I don't want her to be able to just chop and change as she feels like it, what chance would I have legally to get joint custody of him, there is no neglect issue from her or anything like that, I feel we are both good parents and both have great relationship with him, but issues between us has caused her to be vindictive at times. Thanks
Adz84 - 24-Apr-16 @ 11:58 AM
shezz - Your Question:
Jus a quick question my brother n hos ex have been split for few months n her new bf is very controlling they have tried to get along for their daughter but her new bf doesn't like it my brother pays £45 maintenance a wk but has his daughter more than she does he buys nappies, food, clothes ect n already lost a job due to bein tired as she don't collect her when she knows he's working nights has anyone got any advice on what he should do

Our Response:
I'm not sure of your question here, but I'll try to answer it as best I can. If your brother has lost his job and is claiming benefits then he will only have to pay flat rate child maintenance at the most. If he is unhappy with the child arrangements, and him and his ex cannot sort the issue out between them, then Mediation may be the answer, please see link: Mediation: What is it and is it For Me? here.
SeparatedDads - 21-Apr-16 @ 1:54 PM
Jus a quick question my brother n hos ex have been split for few months n her new bf is very controlling they have tried to get along for their daughter but her new bf doesn't like it my brother pays £45 maintenance a wk but has his daughter more than she does he buys nappies, food, clothes ect n already lost a job due to bein tired as she don't collect her when she knows he's working nights has anyone got any advice on what he should do
shezz - 20-Apr-16 @ 7:06 PM
Reece - Your Question:
My ex keeps refusing to let me see our 15 month old daughter since we split a few weeks ago despite me always paying and supporting her and always looking after my daughter whilst she is at work etc.The only way I will get visitation is if the courts are involved what is the quickest and most reasonable and fair way about this ? I don't wanna come away with just the odd day here and there I want shared custody really.Any help appreciated

Our Response:
If your ex is denying you access please see link: When Your Ex-Partner Denies You Access, here and consider going through the motions laid out in the article. It is highly unlikely you will be offered shared care of your daughter through the courts unless your ex agrees. However, the courts do want fathers to have a healthy input into their child's life, therefore if you have been constant in your child's life to date, it means your child is familiar enough with you as a parent and therefore you should be awarded more than 'just the odd day here and there'. The court also may suggest you try to resolve this through Mediation first before you can apply, which can put the process back, should you want it to go directly to court. Another option is to suggest Mediation to your ex and if she refuses then you will be allowed to apply directly to the courts. If she consents to mediation then you should both go in with an open view on trying to come to an agreement about your access rights, which will then be verified by the courts. Please also see: Mediation - What is it and is it For Me? here . I hope this helps and you regain access soon.
SeparatedDads - 20-Apr-16 @ 12:16 PM
My ex keeps refusing to let me see our 15 month old daughter since we split a few weeks ago despite me always paying and supporting her and always looking after my daughter whilst she is at work etc. The only way I will get visitation is if the courts are involved what is the quickest and most reasonable and fair way about this ? I don't wanna come away with just the odd day here and there I want shared custody really. Any help appreciated
Reece - 19-Apr-16 @ 10:26 AM
I have a child who is 2 years old and there has been a court order in place since January where my child lives with his dad but has regular contact with me, 4 days a weeks plus over night stays. I want to go to court to have joint custody where the child spends time with both parent equally. What would be my chances? Also how would I get an order in place to take my son abroad next year and when would be the best time to take action for that?
Mummy - 16-Apr-16 @ 6:29 PM
Dealer - Your Question:
My wife wants a separation and beenOut of the house for 5 months with a mental health issue. I have looked after our 3 children with support fromin laws whilst she is staying at her friends house. She has decided she wants to be with the children. If this went to court, would I need to move out? I would also want joint custody.

Our Response:
You are in the stronger position for being in the house and having looked after your children for a period of time. However, you would need to apply to the courts for a child arrangement order, please see link here. The courts will decide what is in the best interests of your children and who it thinks should reside in the house with your children as the primary carer (if you wish your children to stay in the family home). I suggest you seek some professional legal advice regarding your options.
SeparatedDads - 15-Apr-16 @ 2:43 PM
Lozz - Your Question:
Hi my son has his two children to stay over two/three nights a week he also takes them to school most days most days and has time of from work most school holidays so does this class him as having shared custody?

Our Response:
Shared-custody is decision by the court usually upon agreement of the parents. So, regardless of your son sharing the care of your children, it doesn't mean the status has been officially recognised. Much depends on what you wish the 'status' to be used for i.e if it is regarding child maintenance the CMS will work out payments upon the nights your son has his children - but still may not class the division in care as 'shared'.
SeparatedDads - 15-Apr-16 @ 1:56 PM
My wife wants a separation and been Out of the house for 5 months with a mental health issue. I have looked after our 3 children with support from in laws whilst she is staying at her friends house. She has decided she wants to be with the children. If this went to court, would I need to move out? I would also want joint custody.
Dealer - 14-Apr-16 @ 6:45 PM
Hi my son has his two children to stay over two/three nights a week he also takes them to school most days most days and has time of from work most school holidays so does this class him as having shared custody?
Lozz - 14-Apr-16 @ 4:06 PM
Lampard - Your Question:
My wife recently decided to move on with her life.we have a 6 yrs old daughter together of who my wife wants full custody of.my wife work's full time and travels a lot with work.I have looked after my daughter fulltime. My wife did pay all the bills though.just wanted to know where I stand with my case

Our Response:
I am sorry to hear this. If you can't agree between you or via Mediation, and if you have been house-husband and primary carer of your child, then you may have a case to apply for a child arrangement order where a court will determine who your daughter should live with. The court will always decide what it thinks is in the best interest of your child and opt for the least amount of disruption to your child's routine as possible. You don't say whether you have moved out of the house you share with your wife, but you 'may' be entitled to remain in the house with your daughter if custody is granted in your favour. Therefore, seeking legal advice at this stage is your best option. Please see gov.uk link here .
SeparatedDads - 31-Mar-16 @ 2:12 PM
My wife recently decided to move on with her life .we have a 6 yrs old daughter together of who my wife wants full custody of .my wife work's full time and travels a lot with work.I have looked after my daughter fulltime. My wife did pay all the bills though .just wanted to know where I stand with my case
Lampard - 30-Mar-16 @ 9:43 PM
hi can some one give me some advice please ?? My brother lives at home with my mam following the break down of their marriage last October, we havnt spoke for approx. 4 years because of his partner, her and I were very good friends when she was not together with my brother & I watched her son while she went to work and my husband babysat him whenever she wanted a night out with me, anyway she took me off facebook assuming a status was about her ( paranoid in the extremes ) after this it just went to ridiculous levels which included her stopping me seeing my nephew , she then got back with my brother , arranged a wedding, all of which shes since admitted doing to hurt me and my sister, to cut a long story short my mam had 2 strokes at xmas and we all began speaking because we had to be there for mam, shes still insists we cant see kids ( she has 2 now ) which is fine, its been so long they wouldn't know us now and its unfair on them , however we are being told we cant go to mams house when he has the kids which is damn hard being as members of stroke team and others are going in to assess her . also whats annoying me is he is back in mine and my kids lives but is doing nothing to ease this situation, he says hes terrified she stops him seeing the boys which I understand fully but the law is there to protect dads from this surely ? Over the years she has told the oldest boy ( now 9yrs) too much re the family situation and that hes not to see us as we are mean , when he stays overnight at my mams he goes out of the room to text his mam and hides his phone, she uses her kids in her personal wars with people which has included my mam and her own over the years, my question is , is she allowed to dictate this in my mams house, I understand I have no rights to see them and that's fine , I made my peace with that and not gonna fight her on it as it'll impact on the kids. My mam is devastated that she cant have all of her kids/grandkids in her home at once but the main issue is her health and having to avoid certain days to tie in with her stupidity
robbo - 28-Mar-16 @ 3:34 PM
hi can some one give me some advice please ?? My brother lives at home with my mam following the break down of their marriage last October, we havnt spoke for approx. 4 years because of his partner, her and I were very good friends when she was not together with my brother & I watched her son while she went to work and my husband babysat him whenever she wanted a night out with me, anyway she took me off facebook assuming a status was about her ( paranoid in the extremes ) after this it just went to ridiculous levels which included her stopping me seeing my nephew , she then got back with my brother , arranged a wedding, all of which shes since admitted doing to hurt me and my sister, to cut a long story short my mam had 2 strokes at xmas and we all began speaking because we had to be there for mam, shes still insists we cant see kids ( she has 2 now ) which is fine, its been so long they wouldn't know us now and its unfair on them , however we are being told we cant go to mams house when he has the kids which is damn hard being as members of stroke team and others are going in to assess her . also whats annoying me is he is back in mine and my kids lives but is doing nothing to ease this situation, he says hes terrified she stops him seeing the boys which I understand fully but the law is there to protect dads from this surely ? Over the years she has told the oldest boy ( now 9yrs) too much re the family situation and that hes not to see us as we are mean , when he stays overnight at my mams he goes out of the room to text his mam and hides his phone, she uses her kids in her personal wars with people which has included my mam and her own over the years, my question is , is she allowed to dictate this in my mams house, I understand I have no rights to see them and that's fine , I made my peace with that and not gonna fight her on it as it'll impact on the kids. My mam is devastated that she cant have all of her kids/grandkids in her home at once but the main issue is her health and having to avoid certain days to tie in with her stupidity
robbo - 28-Mar-16 @ 2:21 PM
Dre - Your Question:
I have a 18months year old son and the mum will does not let me have him by myself or stay over at mine.I can only see him with her.I want to able to have my son by myself.what should I do?who do I contact if I want it take it to court?

Our Response:
You would need to apply for a child arrangement order, please see link here .
SeparatedDads - 18-Mar-16 @ 12:15 PM
I have a 18months year old son and the mum will does not let me have him by myself or stay over at mine.I can only see him with her.I want to able to have my son by myself.what should I do?who do I contact if I want it take it to court?
Dre - 17-Mar-16 @ 5:07 PM
I've been separated for nearly 18 months. Ex left and now lives with someone else and I had custody of my daughter for a period and now it's joint custody and she spends a week with me and a week with her mum. I spoke to the CSA yesterday and they've stated that if its joint custody as I've described then I don't have to pay my ex anything which is great but it's contrary to what they told me a few weeks ago. Has anyone been in a similar position and can confirm that no maintenance is due? I know for a fact my ex will follow this up so wanted to make sure of my facts before I contact her.
J - 10-Mar-16 @ 8:49 PM
Hi, my spouse and I are on the process of getting a divorce, we still both live in the marital home.I have just learnt that she is applying for shared custody.If, which I feel is highly likely, I am ordered to leave the marital home and move elsewhere, how will shared custody work if it is granted?The reason I ask is that I don't think I will be able to afford to buy or rent in or close to the area we currently live, and may need to move elsewhere tomuch smaller accommodation.We have three children all of school age and currently live in a three bedroom house.Can you shed some light on how this could possibly work please.Thanks
DadsRus - 10-Mar-16 @ 7:06 AM
Leahmarie12 - Your Question:
Hi there my partner is currently going through a court case with his children but his ex is trying everything in her power to try and stop him from seeing his children he's finding it so hard with the fees etc I'm just wondering if them knowing he has a supportive partner and with me having a child would that help in any way to get his kids back!? Or what can I do to help him!?

Our Response:
If he is struggling to pay legal fees, he can self-litigate, please see link: How to Represent Yourself, here. A lot of fathers are having much success this way. He may also find our Separated Dads Facebook page useful, as our dads have some great advice about fighting for their rights to see their kids.
SeparatedDads - 4-Mar-16 @ 3:05 PM
Hi there my partner is currently going through a court case with his children but his ex is trying everything in her power to try and stop him from seeing his children he's finding it so hard with the fees etc I'm just wondering if them knowing he has a supportive partner and with me having a child would that help in any way to get his kids back!? Or what can I do to help him!?
Leahmarie12 - 4-Mar-16 @ 9:17 AM
My boyfriend has 2 kids and looks after them as much as his ex. She is claiming all benefits for both children. Is he entitled to anything?
Looby - 2-Mar-16 @ 6:11 PM
P2- Your Question:
My brother lives at home with my mother and as son who is 1 his son lives with his mum. She wants him to pay maintaice and nursery fees my brother as his son Monday and Thursday 10 til 1 and then Friday 4pm til Sunday 6pm on a average week but could be more does he have to pay he provides food clothes and anything else he needs when he's in his care the child mother works

Our Response:
If they have a family-based agreement then this is something that they will need to resolve between themselves. Mediation may be an option if they can't agree between themselves, please see link: Mediation: What is it and is it For Me? here .
SeparatedDads - 2-Mar-16 @ 12:53 PM
My brother lives at home with my mother and as son who is 1 his son lives with his mum. She wants him to pay maintaice and nursery fees my brother as his son Monday and Thursday 10 til 1 and then Friday 4pm til Sunday 6pm on a average week but could be more does he have to pay he provides food clothes and anything else he needs when he's in his care the child mother works
P2 - 1-Mar-16 @ 9:17 PM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Latest Comments
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the SeparatedDads website. Please read our Disclaimer.