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Shared Parenting, Co-parenting

Many parents attend interviews for a Family Report and say they would like a shared parenting arrangement. So what is shared parenting and what makes it successful? In whose best interest is shared parenting and how does it impact on children? Shared parenting allows parents to both play a role in a child or children’s lives. It is an arrangement whereby the parents share the time the children spend with each parent. It can be on an equal 50:50 basis or based on a routine of days per week the child or children spend with both parents. Some characteristics that assist good shared parenting arrangements are;

  • The parents ability to focus on the child or children’s needs

  • An ability for each parent to maintain a respectful relationship with each other despite previous anger or disappointment following the end of a relationship

  • An ability for both parents to maintain similar routines, boundaries and behaviour management techniques for the child or children and

  • An ability for parents to communicate and keep the adult issues separate from the co-parenting relationship

Some factors that impact on a successful shared parenting arrangement are;

  • A history of drug or alcohol addiction by one or both parents and the parents insight into how this impacts children

  • Family violence and a history of child abuse

  • Parents who have difficulty separating adult issues from the needs of their child or children

  • The age of the children and their relationship with both parents

  • the geographical distance between where the parents reside and

  • The parents willingness to support and promote children maintaining a relationship with the other parent

There are many advantages for shared custody but there are also many difficulties that need to be considered and managed. Some ground work by both parents is often required before a shared parenting arrangement is recommended.

Written by Denise Giles, Family Consultant @ Scope Consultancy

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