I am posting this on behalf of a friend, who is desperate for some advice from knowledgeable MNetters, but struggling a bit too much to ask!
In October last year she left the marital home (his family farm) after 7 years of marriage. They have one child - a very intelligent confident little girl who, at nearly 6, seems to have taken the chance in circumstance extraordinarily well so far.
Up to this point, the arrangements regarding the child have been very flexible, with her staying at whichever house seems the most appropriate at the time. This has probably worked out at roughly 50%, with her spending perhaps slightly more time with her mother.
Her mother is now considering next term, and wondering what approach would be best for the child. Is it better to have a fixed pattern, and if so, are longer stays with each parent (e.g. 4/5 days) better than single nights here and there? My friend is obviously very reluctant to go long stretches without seeing her daughter, but if less changing around is better for the child, of course she will do whatever is right.
Obviously none of this has been put to the ex-husband yet, but she just wanted to find out from other people what arrangements have been most satisfactory from the children's perspective?
My dd is also 5. I am her main carer and her dad has her every Thursday overnight and every other Thursday until the Monday. So 9 days out of 14 she is with me. It works at the moment but its still quite early days.
I have a 6 year old ds with my xh and we share 50/50 custody.It works really well for all of us and has been like this for 5 years. Due to work schedules we don't have an arrangement which is fixed, it's just as our shifts allow, some weeks he is at his dads 4 nights, some weeks 2 nights. Ds is a very confident little boy and as a result has a great relationship with both parents, and now step parents. Each week we just plan for the next couple of weeks who will collect from school and drop him off etc, We are both accommodating of changes if needed though and a fixed arrangement wouldn't work for us.
My DDs are with me alternate weekends and one night every week, I have ensured that the one weeknight includes an organised activity, swimming club so as to have a clear focus on that night. This was the way things were arranged from the beginning = 5yrs ago and it has worked well. The routine was the important thing for me and I believe for them too.