Can anyone refer me to any published recommendations about what living arrangements are best for small children (i.e. under 5s) after divorce? Some say it's better for a half and half split while others say that doesn't provide them with stabililty.
Speaking as a family solicitor with specialist knowledge in children issues (ie. residence and contact) I've found that research varies, but I always say follow your heart for a start. As the parent you are best placed to say what you feel is best for your kids because they are unique - no 2 children / families are the same.
If it comes to the crunch and someone else (such as a judge) has to decide what's best for your kids (by applying the Children Act 1989) then there is no set rule. For some kids, they are ok with 50/50 split, but for others this isn't right for them.
In my expereince, legal and nonlegal professionals generally agree that it's not so much WHAT happens that affects kids when their parents split up but rather HOW the decision is reached - even at a young age kids can be badly affected by conflict between their parents even if they don't witness arguments, as they will often pick up on the stress of a situation indirectly however much the parent tries to keep it from them.
That's why non-adversarial/non-court based resolution processes such as mediation or the collaborative family law process are so important- mnore info at http://www.resolution.org.uk/alternatives_to_court/