When parents are going through divorce or relationship breakdown, they invariably seek that their children’s time is shared equally. Dividing time may feel fair to the parents but is not going to always feel fair to the children.
The best way to approach making arrangements is to consider the weekly routines and commitments for everyone involve before apportioning care. The key is to make sure it’s about quality time – no matter how long or short. This will ensure stability and will make parenting as separated parents a little easier and less stressful.
Communication and compromise are at the centre of making this work; although the parents’ relationship may not have endured, they still have a responsibility to work together to find a way of ensuring the best interests of the children. This will ensure that your children feel valued rather than them feeling like a possession to be fought over and carved up.
If a parent is able to put themselves in the shoes of their children – and consider how unsettling and disruptive it may be living between two homes – then they should be able to be more creative about the arrangements.
Equal shared care works for some families, but it does not work for all. It is better for parents to keep an open mind and be creative and flexible in order to achieve arrangements that work specifically for their family. That may mean an unequal distribution of time, but as long as the focus is on making it secure and happy, then their relationships should continue to grow and develop.
Sometimes parents have to be brave and accept that it may be more appropriate for the children to have one main home and to spend regular and frequent time with the non-resident parent; this can be just as rewarding and beneficial for parent and child alike.
Laura’s expertise covers all aspects of Family Law and Private Client work. She provides practical advice to clients throughout their divorce proceedings. Her role also includes making wills, administering probate, setting up Personal Injury Compensation Trusts and creating Powers of Attorney.