What is Shared Parenting?
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Shared parenting is when a child is able to spend time with both parents. With both parents actively involved in all aspects of raising the child.
The time immediately following a divorce or separation can be hard on all concerned. With the parents no doubt feeling differing levels of anger, sadness, frustration, and uncertainty. The children will be left feeling uncertain, anxious, and in most cases upset at the thought of their parents not being together anymore.
Shared parenting provides some certainty to help families through this tough time, in terms of what happens right away and into the future. Shared parenting arrangements are designed to be in place throughout childhood, with the ability for them to be adapted over time as the children grow up, to make sure it always best serves the need of the child.
That’s an important point here – the needs of the child. Working together, and sharing parenting of the child will make sure the child’s needs always come first. It recognises the importance of the child having the influence of both a mother and a father.
Shared parenting should not adhere to old-fashioned stereotypes. The father won’t be seen as the bread winner, and the parent who sees the child during leisure time only. Equally, the mother won’t be responsible for everything else.
What can shared care cover?
The following aspects should be considered:
The responsibility of each parent can be made clear. Decide who will pay for the day-to-day care, holidays, school trips, clothing etc. All aspects of the child’s needs should be considered.
Which schools the child attends and the type of education they receive needs to be decided. Will the child go to public or private school? If private, who will pay the fees? How will the child get to school and back every day?
The living arrangements need to be agreed upon. How many days and on which days will the child live with each parent?
The location of each parent also needs to be considered. It may be that one or both parents want to move to a new location following a separation to be nearer to their family or friends, or place of work. How this impacts the child needs to be considered. Some legal restrictions might need to be agreed on to ensure the agreement can be fulfilled by both parties.
The decisions made here will also impact other areas of the child’s life. Which schools they can attend, and which doctor they can be registered with might be impacted, making this an extremely important consideration.
Parents need to decide on the type of healthcare the child will get. Should they opt for private healthcare over the NHS, it needs to be decided which parent will be responsible for arranging and funding this.
Shared parent recognises the child needs the love and attention from both their mother and father to thrive. Along with losing stereotypes, any arrangements can make sure that the child has access to both parents freely as they grow up.
It is also important that the child is protected from any fallout following the divorce or separation. This extends beyond the two parents. If extended family or friends are having emotional problems following the divorce, arrangements need to be made to make sure the needs of the child are safeguarded.
This might not be relevant for all families. But for those from religious backgrounds, particularly if the parents have different beliefs, it is important to consider the child’s religious education and the expectations you have for them.
Other important decisions
Throughout a child’s life there will be many important decisions to make. Some might come around every few years; such as which secondary school the child attends, and what options they choose.
Others might be much more frequent, such as what to do about the child being bullied, or what they can do in their leisure time.
Good arrangements for shared parenting will outline who is responsible for certain decisions. Should parents decide that these decisions should be made together, it is a good idea to agree on a process that can be referred to when required.
How to get your arrangement in place
At DRN, we are experts in family law. Our experienced team have encountered a wide range of circumstances and helped families from all backgrounds come to workable arrangements.
Whether you would like us to draft an agreement for you, or just provide you with some guidance and assurance when doing your own, our friendly team are here for you. Just call us on 01282 433 241 for an initial conversation.
We can also help to determine if shared parenting is right for you at this time. It’s not uncommon following divorce for communication to break down. In this situation family mediation could be the answer initially.
No matter what situation you find yourself in, we will always be empathetic to your unique circumstances and here for you through this challenging time.
Call us today on 01282 433 241. We can help you move forward and make sure that your children are taken care of, now and into the future.