How does shared parenting work?

Parents frequently use the term “custody” despite the fact that it is not now accepted by legal authorities. Lawyers, judges, and mediators increasingly use the term “care” instead of “custody,” resulting in terminology such as “shared care” to describe circumstances that were before referred to as “shared custody.” However, what does it mean? There are diverse perspectives on what shared care entails and how it should be structured.


Traditionally, child arrangements agreements or court decisions centred on the notion that one parent had custody, indicating that they are the primary caretaker and the kid(ren) primarily reside with that parent. Then, the other parent would get “visitation,” which would allow them to see their children on set days and hours.

Following separation, it is generally accepted that it is in the best interests of children to spend time with both parents. This is possible because shared care provides the opportunity for children to be raised with the love and care of both parents. Children might anticipate spending meaningful time with each parent under a shared care arrangement. In shared care arrangements, children not only spend a certain amount of time with each parent, but are also nurtured and cared for by both parents. This alters the traditional conceptions of custody in terms of their practicality.

Mediators frequently ask parents what they hope to accomplish during mediation. We frequently hear the response that they desire “50/50 touch.” Shared care does not mean 50/50; in reality, courts seldom require that children spend equal time with each parent after a divorce. However, this does not imply that future orders will not be close to 50/50. Each parents will have equal (“50/50”) responsibility, responsibilities, and judgement authority towards their children. Practicality is the primary reason why 50/50 contact is not always the case in shared care agreements. There might be logistical factors, such as the distance between parents, that must be considered. Even if contact is less than 50 percent of the time, it does not indicate that you do not share parental responsibilities.

What can I anticipate from a shared care arrangement?

When negotiating a shared-care agreement, you might anticipate a variety of factors:

1.       Each of your children should feel as though they are actively participating in your lives. This indicates that both parents will be involved in all parts of their kids education, including recreational, health, school, and work!

2.       In this aspect, both parents are active in decision-making; one parent will not dominate.

3.       There will be no exclusion of either parent from significant aspects of their child’s life.

4.       Each parent will promote time spent with the other parent.

5.       As part of the agreements, the children will spend time with each parent. Typically, in a shared care arrangement, children will spend substantial amounts of time with each parent. This often occurs during school breaks, but will continue throughout the arrangement.

6.       Both parents are treated equally by your children. Your children enjoy unrestricted access to each parent in accordance with the agreement. A shared objective is for children to feel like they have two homes, one with each parent.

A shared care agreement involves transitioning from the traditional notions of custody and visitation, as mentioned previously, to a shared parenting/coparenting approach in which parents are actively involved in their children’s life, and the children may observe this. In practise, custody might result in one parent feeling isolated, which can have negative effects on children. Arrangements for shared care aim to prevent this from occurring.

This may sound redundant, but it is essential to remember from this little blog post: shared care does not equate to 50/50 interaction.

So, what is a shared care agreement if it is not 50/50?

Shared parenting is not contingent on children spending equal time with each parent. As stated above, this can be rather challenging to do in practise. Every family is unique, and so, arrangements will vary widely. Some parents may opt to use a one-week-on, one-week-off arrangement in order to accomplish a 50/50 shared custody agreement. However, this may be rather challenging for children, especially if they are separated from their parent for lengthy periods. Alternately, parents may do a few days on/off during the week to do this, but this can be as challenging since children are constantly travelling between homes. It might be challenging to reach a compromise.

Here is when mediation can be useful. We will investigate numerous options throughout the mediation. You may anticipate a pragmatic evaluation of these proposals: What may work? What fails to work? How might we make this situation work? As you continue to evaluate a shared care agreement, you may anticipate exploring all of these topics. If you wish to explore alternatives for a shared care agreement through mediation, you must first schedule a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM). You can do so by clicking on this link or by phoning our office at 0113 468 9595. Here you may find additional information about MIAMs and the mediation procedure.

In shared care agreements, frequent parental ideas include alternating weekends, consistent weekdays each week, and evenly split holidays. The latter is crucial since it allows parents to spend extended periods of quality time with their children throughout the year, such as on vacation.

The most crucial aspect of a shared care agreement is that both parents acknowledge their equal involvement and importance in their children’s lives.

What types of provisions are contained inside a shared care agreement?

You can include several aspects of significance to you inside the layout. Typical areas of emphasis are:

•         Where the children will mostly reside and how often they will see the other parent.

•         The frequency with which children will see extended relatives as part of the agreement.

•         The location of the children’s schools.

•         The faith in which children will be reared.

•         Child support and alimony.

•         Agreements about coparenting and communication.

This is a non-exhaustive list, and as parents you will need to decide what is important for you and your family moving ahead. When investigating and proposing arrangements for a shared care agreement, the primary question you should address is: What is in our children’s best interests? Ultimately, this is the question the court will ask when determining custody arrangements for your children.

Conclusions about joint parenting agreements

Parental separation is a challenging period for all parties involved, including children. It is of the utmost importance that, after parental separation, children feel loved and supported and are enabled to have a solid relationship with each parent moving ahead. Arrangements for shared care permit this to be the case. By working towards a shared care agreement, parents may guarantee that each of them has an equal role in their children’s life and can thus offer their children with the reassurance and care they will require in the future. Who pays for mediation?

Mediation is the first step in achieving a shared care agreement in the future. You must initially attend an MIAM. This will entail meeting with one of our certified mediators, who will offer you with information regarding mediation and allow you to discuss your case in further depth. We will then extend an invitation to the other parent to attend their separate MIAM. After each of you has participated in MIAMs, you will go on to combined mediation sessions where you will be able to discuss possibilities and progress toward a resolution. If you can reach an agreement, your mediator will be able to prepare a Parenting Plan that you can convert into a legally enforceable contract. Your mediator will be there throughout the entire process to foster dialogues and help you to a shared care agreement that works for you and your children.

If mediation is not appropriate or fails, you may petition the court for a Child Arrangements Order. This may be accomplished by filling out a C100 form. Remember that litigation should be your final alternative because it is more time-consuming and expensive than mediation. Contacting the Family Court Application Service will provide assistance with completing C100 forms (FCAS). If mediation fails, your mediator will give you with further information regarding this.