Should we share care of the children?
This is a question I hear more frequently now as a family lawyer than I did say 10 years ago. Shared care does seem to be something that a lot of couples are able to achieve but there is also a strive to achieve a shared care arrangement in some families which may not succeed.
The answer is, consider the particular circumstances of your child. A recent study carried out in Sweden showed that children found the same level of psychological complaints in children in a shared residence situation as in those in nuclear families. However, the study did say that children do better if parenting is shared, even allowing for the fact that the couples who shared parenting tended to have higher incomes and less conflict.
However, there are situations in which shared care does not work. The first is that if there is a level of conflict, for example, if domestic violence has taken place in a home, then sharing care is simply not an option. In addition, children who are adolescent are less likely to like the idea of having two homes and if a relationship between a child and a parent is particularly difficult, that is also not going to work.
The bottom line is that you know your children and you know what will work for them.
I have many situations in which shared care is working very well. There are all sorts of models which reflect peoples working patterns and what works best for them and the children. There has to be a certain organisation. Passing PE kits between one household and another can be tricky and there does need to be a certain level of communication to enable shared care to work well.
The underlying advice however is consider your children and what you and your ex-partner think is best for them.