Concept for - Co-parenting and shared care - is it possible?

It is never easy when a couple decide to separate, but it is invariably more difficult where there are children involved.

In this series of articles, I am going to discuss options that separated parents could consider to enable them to co-parent their child. In this first article I am going to discuss the various options available to parents to enable them both to be involved in the child’s life.

Co-parenting is possible for separating couples. It will however, probably only work if the parents retain a degree of amicability. If they are at loggerheads, reaching any form of agreement will be more difficult.

Shared care or something different?

It is important to choose a schedule of time for your child to spend with each parent which works for both parents and more importantly, for your child. Matters to consider include:
• The distance between parents’ homes
• The distance from each home to the child’s school, extracurricular activities, friends, and other relevant locations
• The work schedules for each parent.


A shared care agreement providing for equal amounts of time with each parent will work in the majority of cases and can be set out as follows:

  • One week with one parent, and one week with the other parent
  • 2-2-5-5 rotation – two days with one parent, and two days with the other parent, five days with the first parent, and five days with the other parent. The two days each week could stay the same with each parent with the weekends alternating in full.
  • A 3-3-4-4 rotation – this would not enable alternate weekends to be spent with each parent in full each week.
  • 2-2-3 rotation – two days with one parent, and two days with the other parent, then a three-day weekend with each parent each alternate weekend. The two days with the other parent would start after the weekend with the other parent. The weekdays for the parents would be different each week.

50/50 parenting arrangements providing for the children to live with each parent equally do not work for every family. You need to consider what is best for your family.

Some parents are able to agree that their child will live with them both for unequal amounts of time. This would enable weekends to be shared equally and for the parent to have possibly the same day in the week.

Alternatively, you could agree that your child lives with one parent and spends time with the other (this was residence and contact).

It is always advisable to consider arrangements for holidays and special arrangements, such as Christmas and birthdays and whether these will change from the time you have agreed.

Whatever you decide is best for your child, it’s always advisable to seek advice at an early stage so that you can be fully appraised of the pros and cons of each arrangement and how it may work best for you as a family and the best way to achieve such an arrangement. If you would like help and support please contact our specialist Children team who will be happy to help.


In my next article in this series ‘What is a Parenting Plan?’ I discuss parenting plans and using such a plan to record the agreement reached in writing.