Knowledge and Resource Hub
05 August 2019

Sharing the care of children after separation: Thinking beyond “custody and access” or “residence and contact”

This article from AIFS discusses what works in shared parenting arrangements after separation or divorce. The research suggests that sharing parenting works best when parents live reasonably close to each other; can contain any negative feelings associated with their separation – both in the presence of the children and in the presence of the children’s other parent; can resolve the inevitable disagreements and misunderstandings that crop up; can accept that the other parent has a right to live his or her new life and that the children have a right to a meaningful relationship with that parent; are neither menacing towards, nor fearful of, the other parent and know that the children are basically “on board” with this form of shared parenting and can manage moving between two homes. When infants or young children are involved sharing parenting is more challenging as the experience of changed surroundings, combined with the “loss” (in the child’s mind) of the reassuring presence of a parent, can be distressing.