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Shared custody, any good examples?

(22 Posts)
feelingpositivemum Sat 02-Jan-10 09:50:53

I am new to this bit as only just separated from XH.

We are both keen, him more than me, for shared custody and for the last 3 months, have been doing it as they are with me in the week and him at the weekend.

This was my choice as I am very organised and can run the childrens activities, school etc efficiently, whilst he is great fun, but chaotic and I wanted the DC's to go to school, calm, in the right uniform, bathed, and as my DS1 says, to the correct school!

However, I am beginning to realise that I don't get much weekend/ relax time with them and that is essential also. However, by asking for more relax time, he will need more school time and the thought of that would send us all a bit doolally (?).

Just wondered if there were any success stories out there of good shared custody.

Niceguy2 Sat 02-Jan-10 10:49:11

Years ago when I first split with my ex, we had a shared arrangement. She had 3 nights, I had 4.

Looking back I don't think it was a great arrangement for the kids. The problem was too much change. Between school, my house, the ex's house and child minders (holidays and after school clubs), they were being passed around like parcels.

Now we have an every other weekend arrangement and its better for me but more importantly the kids. They get 12/14 nights to be in the same home, make arrangements to play with friends, go to clubs etc. In short they have more stability.

I'm not saying shared can't work. There's a lot to be said for having every weekend free so you can rebuild your life and go out etc. But in my personal experience, it didn't work well for the kids.

Would your ex be ameniable to something like every third weekend is yours and make up the time during school holidays? You never know, he may be willing to do this since he will then get a weekend break so he can do his own thing once in a while too?

feelingpositivemum Sat 02-Jan-10 12:54:51

We do need to discuss. I was going to suggest every 4th weekend to start with. It's a very sensitive area and tbh I don't think he will give much.

He is desperate it isn't every other weekend and I think 12/14 nights in one house is a definite no no.

It's so hard isn't it, we both want them!

lottysmum Sat 02-Jan-10 20:35:02


I share care....and have done for the last 4 years.

The care is on a rota basis around my ex's work and it changes from week to week but works out that our daughter spends 3 nights with her dad and 4 with me.

We have a good parental relationship and make boobs where violin is at wrong house at wrong time but we manage to sort it out...and school have appreciated this.

Our dd is 7 and probably hasn't yet got used to rota...but knows that it's only a few day;s inbetween seeing mum/dad. We both have our strenghts...she would rather be with me in terms of getting ready for a party...and dad is strong on ensuring she does her music homework .....

It's just a case of gearing to strenghts where possible but going with the flow and you will both make boobs....but it really isn;t the end of the world.

feelingpositivemum Sat 02-Jan-10 20:54:10

Thanks lottysmum, do you think that it's the best for her?

I do, but have so much pressure from others to have them more and he have them every other weekend and perhaps once in the week.

Also, we are trying to make it amicable but it's early days and I am suffering from extreme anger atm!

Despite this, I think he should see them a lot and we live very close so the DC's have complete continuity with their lifestyle.

I just can't bear the idea of my 7 & 6 yr olds only living with me for half their life from now on.

Something I need to just come to terms with i guess.

fantasticfour Sat 02-Jan-10 21:05:42

You will get used to it, it takes time. Mine are older than yours but we've eventually worked out a good routine. We were sharing the kids 3/4 nights each each week, but as one of the posters here has said, it was too much chopping and changing for them (school books and uniform often left in wrong house etc). Now we have them for a week at a time and although my ex doesn't do things quite how I'd like them done it's much better for the kids and all of us, knowing where we all are week to week.

You'll get there.

feelingpositivemum Sat 02-Jan-10 21:22:54

Yes, I'm aware that is an option, but don't you struggle when you don't see them for a whole week?

Also, I'm not so sure they wouldn't wear the same underwear for the whole week and their teeth would never be cleaned!

Not being sexist, just that he thinks changing underwear every day is pure indulgence..

SleighGirl Sat 02-Jan-10 21:26:28

I would ask to have them every 3rd weekend and perhaps he can have them for evening say every Wednesday evening - whether or not he returns them to sleep at yours or they sleep at his is not to relevant.

Of course he could always have them for his 4-6 weeks annual leave each year 24/7?

I have residence but we've always had a very fluid and good co-parenting relationship but we both recognised after a while that dd needed to be based at one house and "visit" the other.

Hassled Sat 02-Jan-10 21:28:58

I did it for years with my Ex - older DCs were with him Sun night - Wed morning, me the rest. When I worked FT it was bloody hard to not see them in the Dad days (they went to after school club) - eventually I went PT, picked them up from school and Ex would collect them on his way home from work.

It worked well from their POV, I think - helped that Ex and I get on well and have always been flexible. They're grown up now but when DS1 is home he still tends to go to his Dad's on the right nights .

addictedtolatte Sat 02-Jan-10 21:49:41

my parents did shared custody with me and my sister. it didnt upset me or effect me in the slightest. i grew up knowing 2 parents loved me equally. the thing i can remember the most growing up is my parents never put each other down they always spoke well of each other they just accepted they needed to split up for there own happiness. smile

TheHouseofMirth Sat 02-Jan-10 21:50:05

My BF has had sc arrangement with ex-h for over 10 years. He has the children 3 weekends out of 4 and a weekday night. School hols are split 50/50. This arrangement has worked really well for them. Originally it was a very rigid arrangement but as the children have got older (now 13 & 15) it has become more flexible.

The children seem quite happy with it and I must admit to envying my friend all her child-free time and being able to go out without having to organise baby-sitters!

elastamum Sat 02-Jan-10 22:01:40

when my ex lived round the corner he did thur night to mon night every other week and one night for tea in between. He found that much easier than the school routine and it also gave me some time at weekends, although I have resisdency. However, he met a new GF, moved 2 hours away and now sees them one night a fortnight sad fortunarely as I have residency he wasnt able to go with his idea of getting them up at 5.30am for school!

fantasticfour Sun 03-Jan-10 07:22:37

Yes I do struggle not seeing them for a whole week. It's awful when they first leave on Sunday night. But then when they're here we have more time to be together without thinking it's about to change again, and it is just more settling for them, rather than them having to pack every few days.

I understand your concerns though - mine are older as I said so more able to look after themselves.

SofiaAmes Sun 03-Jan-10 07:54:20

Shared care is absolutely standard here in the usa, so I know many many families who do it. Sometimes the kids are well adjusted and sometimes they aren't. The big difference is the attitude of the parents. If they are civil and friendly, it works. If they aren't, it doesn't. Which is basically true of any post divorce parenting scheme. Amongst the families that I know, generally the kids go back and forth on a weekly basis. Also most people do a "cross-visit" on Wednesday night (parent who doesn't have the children goes and has dinner with parent who does). This is particularly important for younger kids who might have a hard time with a whole week. Generally I have heard that the most successful switchover time is Monday pickup after school. One of my dd's friend's (age 7) was just excitedly telling my dd how she got 2 lots of presents, tree trimming and celebrations at Christmas because she "has two houses now!"

feelingpositivemum Sun 03-Jan-10 08:04:53

Thanks all of you, that has been very useful in helping me see that it is acceptable and can work. Especially addicted, to hear from the other side that you feel it worked for you. I feel happier now.

I have asked him for every third or fourth weekend for the moment and we can work on it from there.

I'm hoping that we can maintain an amicable split, once all the hurt has died down.

Its so hard isn't it, just not what I wanted for them.

fantasticfour Sun 03-Jan-10 10:45:32

It is hard, and as you say, it's not what you wanted for the children or for yourselves - we don't have children with our chosen partners with the vision of splitting up. I found that bit really really hard to come to terms with, as did the kids. But.... it is true what they say - time is a great healer. And you will always have moments of sadness, but you will have good times too as well in a different, but no less enjoyable, way.

Give yourself time, it'll be ok.

dashboard Fri 08-Jan-10 20:02:00

I'm new to this also, have only been separated since mid-November, but we are trying a schedule that another friend of mine uses and seems to work well for them:
Mon-Tues nights, kids are always at mine
Wed-Thurs nights, kids are always at his
Fri-Sun alternates

That way weekly activities are easier to plan because we all know where everyone will be... if I want to go out on an evening (not that I have a social life, but I'm working on it) then I know which days I've got available. Swimming lessons on Tuesday always happen from my house so I keep the swimming things here. We both get equal weekend chill/family activies time.

It seems to be working pretty well for us, but it is early days still. The kids complained a little early on about having to move around so much, but mostly they seem to be happy to have two rooms to make their own and to get to see so much of both of us. My ex did say he felt like 2 days was too short a time and 5 too long to have the kids on his own, but I haven't heard any more mention of that recently.

CardyMow Sat 09-Jan-10 01:12:15

I have been separated from DS1's dad since he was 9 months old. He's now almost 8yo. we gradually built up to a system that has been in place since DS1 started reception, and works well for all concerned. DS1 is with me monday & tuesday. Dad's on Wednesday (dad picks DS1 up from school and takes him in the morning). I pick DS1 up from school on a thursday, then he spends alternate weekends with me or his dad. When his dad has him for the weekend, dad picks up DS1 from school on a friday afternoon, and takes him to school on a monday morning. We split his birthday so that one of us has him till 1pm, when he's dropped off at the other (depending on who he was with the night before). We always wangle contact around so that DS1 spends Mothers day with me and Fathers day with his dad. We alternate Christmas so each year one of us will have him Christmas eve and Christmas day, with DS1 being either picked up or dropped off at 9am Boxing day. We all attend his birthday party together (me, my other 2 DC's, his dad, his dad's new W, new W's son and DS1's baby 1/2 brother). Works for us, and I made a point of getting along with ex-p's new W for DS1's sake. If we need something for DS1, we just catch each other in the playground. We have all made an arrangement to stay in the same town with all our DC's attending the same primary school to ensure continuity of care for DS1. It works brilliantly (albeit there will be teething problems, and I've had to accept that ex-p's parenting style differs quite considerably from mine, and to let a lot go as long as DS1 isn't going to end up dead or mentally scarred, so much of it is just pettiness, that you have to let go and be a grown up about for your child's sake). It really can work if both you and ex-p can put aside your own feelings and fears to do whats best for the child. OH we split all school holidays 50-50 as well.

feelingpositivemum Mon 11-Jan-10 22:02:01

Don't mean to bore everyone with this, but what do people think of blurring the access slightly.

I continue to have them in week, as ExH works long hours and away a lot. Then I have them one weekend a month, he the other 3 but for two of those weekends, if ExH is taking two out the others come to me, sort of I get overflow kids if they don't want to do what he is doing. but they sleep at his house so technically he has them. He is very keen for this as he is can only funtion when he is doing frenzied activities with some of them.

I could force him to have all 4 of them but am I cutting off my nose to spite my face and is this arrangement too confusing for the DC's. They have done this for 3 months and seem happy with it. We live very close so the 'overflow' system is easy to manage!

Everyone tells me this is wrong, not fair on the kids, it is confusing for them etc.

SofiaAmes Fri 15-Jan-10 06:33:23

Loudlass, you and your ex have all my admiration and respect. I wish that more parents could put their children ahead of their dislike for each other, the way you have done.
feelingpositivemum, if you and your ex (who presumably know your children better than anyone else) think it works for your children, then it's the right thing to do. It actually sounds like a lovely arrangement (re the overflow system)...the kids are getting a bit more intimate time with their parents since they are not all together on the weekends.

lottysmum Fri 15-Jan-10 08:28:23

Sorry for not posting back sooner.

Yes definitely best for our dd who is also 7, she has two homes...loves both mum and dad to bits...yes she would probably prefer it if we were together..... but after 4 years she is fine.

We still do things together...often turn up for swimming lessons and go out for tea.... the most important thing is our DD comes first even if we have conflicting views...if you can make it amicable it will benefit all long term.

We both tend to offer our Dd something different too...very different lifestyles...I live in a village he lives on teh edge of town...

Nannakay1 Sun 20-Mar-16 19:55:31

My daughter and her ex have shared custody of the two children, it works quite well during the week and in school term time. My daughter has them one week and her ex the next week. The children are fine with this. When it comes to school holidays her ex gets the cleaner to look after the children during the week when he is busy working. The question is, is she a cleaner, a baby sitter or a childminder.? My daughter has never met this woman and we think that if her ex cant look after them then she should. This problem also occurs on a Saturday when the ex wants to play golf. As a Nanna I think my daughter should have them when he cant look after them - what do you think - would love any input or advice.

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