Wednesday, April 02, 2008

What is a Shared Residence Order?

A Shared Residence Order is a stipulation that the child lives with both parents. They are becoming more popular and more and more fathers are asking for them. Why?

1. They equalise the power between the parties.
It is all very well to state that both parents share parental responsibility but in practice this normally means that the resident parent makes most of the day to day decisions that effect a child's life. The other parent can and should be involved in important decisions like schooling but practically the parent with whom the child resides will normally have more influence.

2. A Shared Residence Order does not have to be on a 50/50 basis. The child can live with one parent more often but still live with the other the rest of the time.

3. Some judges don't like them and call them just a label...... that's all very well but to some people the label is very important. Rather like a child's name - the Court's tend to assume that it is very important for a child to retain a link with the non resident parent via a shared surname. Somewhat sexist as the non resident parent tends to be the father but if having his name will encourage Contact then.......

4. They used to be rare because it was considered that they would only work in a situation of close cooperation. Now judicial opinion has taken a turn in the opposite direction and they are granted in situations of high conflict - to force the parents to get along. Feels a bit like social engineering.

5. There are many, many women struggling to bring up their children alone who would love the father to become more involved but they have no voice in the Courts as the Courts will not order a parent to fulfil his/her parental responsibility in respect of Contact. Conversely there are many many dads fighting to see more of their children. Perhaps a Shared Residence Order should become the norm.................l


Anonymous said...


I take back everything (negative) I've ever said or thought about you - this post is spot on.
A rebuttable starting point of shared residence just has to be in a child's best interests - a father is judged to be at fault if he does not fulfil his responsibilities, and a mother is given a clear message that she should not marginalise the father.

This, of course, does not mean that anything will necessarily change immediately, but if this change were to come about no-one could have any complaints about the expectation of the courts, or the message displayed (as they do at the moment).

If one looks at single-parent web sites, one cannot fail to see how many women complain about fathers not fulfilling their responsibilities. A point that is generally overlooked by men in any 'battle of the sexes' argument based on the fact that the courts usually giving residence to the mother is that the resident parent (mother) has to make the child available for contact whether the non-resident parent (father) wants it or not. Yet how many women's groups will promote shared residence as a starting point as a mechanism to make public a father's responsibilities?

A child has two parents, not one.


Anonymous said...

I have PR of my 6 year old, I have been house father since day one and with support network from paternal family whilst the mother went to uni and pursued her career. the mother has recently left me for another man and has taken our daughter. i now face the prospect of having contact/access only even tho I will be initially having our child for at least half the week until the mother works out another plan to live further afield. i desperately want to work towards along term plan of shared care/parenting but the mother is determined to not allow this as it would limit her choices even tho it will benefit our child and relieve one another from the burden of sole residency. the mother talks only of her rights as opposed to her responsibility and obligations towards our child. I assume she is talking of a mother's rights in a moralistic sense? i will never feel like an equal unless i pursue shared residency. i will always be treated as second class, how will my chjild interpret that over the years? any legal action will in turn cause major problems and most likely result in me having no contact until the courts intervene. what's more i imagine the costs will be very high and I feel I might not get shared residency as the courts are gender biased. a.the mother is unsatble and has presnted as suicidal at least twice in 2 years. ny comments much appreciated

Anonymous said...

I would just like to know of any other situations such as mine. My ex husband and I agreed that shared residency would be best for our child. I strongly agree that it is in our child's best interest that he see both his parents an equal amount of time. Our only problem is we reside in two different states. Our son is 3 but the problem of school is arising quickly. We both have expressed an interest in home schooling, me being the primary "schooler" and curriculum provider. Any one else in this situation, any information would be greatly appreciated?

Anonymous said...

Paternity and temporary orders have already been set...but now the father is requesting shared residency and joint custody...I understand joint custody, but shared residency I am reading up question is "are there any downfalls to shared residency"?...Does this give the father more power in keeping my one year old as long as he wants to, seeing the child is unable to make this decision? We were never married. Is this a wise decision to agree to? I'm very skeptical and have other, department of children and families help, would I still receive assistance for the child...This whole idea is new to me and actually stressing me out. If you have any comments or expertise, pleasssse respond.

Anonymous said...

Shared residency is certainly in the childs best interests in the long term. When it can be agreed by both parents even better. Our son is 3 soon and we've been seperated since he was 20 weeks old. We now live 1 mile apart and my son has enjoyed 2 or 3 days a week living with me and the rest of the time with his mum. We are both (now) involved in his activites and nursery. Mum took me to court for residency in January 2008, which was dismissed. We both represented ourselves so the conflict (and cost)between us was minimal.
I have often thought about applying for shared residency and in the past have felt like a second class parent. However i am now fully involved in nursery, doctors etc and our son says "daddy, am i living with you tommorow" and very much knows he has 2 homes. Do I or our son need "shared residency"? I think not, as we are both fully aware that we are sharing our residence anyway.<- This is in the childs best interests.

Did anyone know this?

The old word "custody" is no longer used for reasons of "sounding like a prison", nor is "access" for the same reason. Later replaced with the word "contact". I prefer "parenting time".

The new(er) word to replace custody is "Parental Responsibility" !!!! So you could say if mum and dad have joint PR then you share "custody".

The word "residence" formalises where the child lives. It only infringes a little on PR as person with residence can take child out of country for up to a month with out consent.<- That is it!

My view is "parenting time" is the most important for the child and that this is shared by both parents.

I would be happier if my son tolds his friends that he's "living with daddy this week" than saying "my mum and dad have a shared residency order".

I do totally agree with shared residency although am only saying that with lots of parenting time you achieve it anyway, sometimes without even knowing it.!