The children who fare best after divorce or separation are those who are able to have meaningful, relaxed and flexible relationships with both of their parents. In other words, they will benefit significantly from spending time with both of their parents but in ways that take account of their changing needs over time.
What children need at different ages and different stages of development will vary. When you're trying to work out the best arrangements for your children, think about their ages and also the patterns of care before the separation. Take into account the distances that they might be required to travel between the two homes so that they're not having to travel long distances too often. And remember that what counts is the quality of time that your children have with each of you rather than necessarily the quantity.
Whilst you may wish to take your children's views into consideration – particularly those of older children – it is vital that you don't hand responsibility for the decisions over to them. Ensure that, whatever arrangements you make, your children know that it is the adults in their lives that have made them.
There are no hard and fast rules about how much time your children should spend with each of you, but use the information provided under the links below to give you an idea about the things to consider for children at different ages:
|NEVER EVER ASK YOUR CHILDREN TO DECIDE ABOUT PARENTING TIME PATTERNS OR CHOOSE WHERE THEY WANT TO LIVE