Legally, there is no specific age at which children of different sex from the same family must be provided with separate bedrooms, but it is a common question and misconception that there is. This article looks at what Courts consider.
We are often asked about the age that children should have separate bedrooms, particularly in situations where there are staying contact or shared care arrangements.
This common misconception often arises because, for example, when housing authorities are considering the size of the property required by a family, they have guidance suggesting that children of a certain age and sex should be provided with separate bedrooms. This thereby affects the size of the property to be made available for that family.
Should children of different sex have separate bedrooms if they are staying with a parent they don’t usually live with, or are in shared care arrangements?
When considering issues of staying contact and/or indeed shared care arrangements, one of the practical issues which the Court can (and will) take into account is the suitability of the housing available to each of the parents.
In considering those arrangements, the Court does not necessarily look at the property on a binary basis of it is suitable for the children to stay or not, as this may of course be dependent upon the amount of time that it is anticipated that a child would spend with their parent.
It might be entirely appropriate for example for a parent whose own accommodation is a bedsit to be able to make arrangements which would be perfectly acceptable for the child to stay for one or two nights, whereas it may not be suitable or acceptable for much longer-term arrangements of say two weeks or for shared care.
How do Courts view sleeping arrangements?
In addition to the above, when considering the suitability of accommodation, the Court will take into account other facts and specific circumstances. These might include:
- The sex of the children;
- The ages of the children; and
- Their views and willingness to share accommodation / sleeping arrangements with either their parent or other siblings.
Consequently, accommodation and the suitability of the same can be a significant factor in reaching determinations for the arrangements in the best interests of the children. However, it is ultimately only one of the factors that will be taken into account by a Court if it comes to a Court process.
This article is part of a series on Private Family Law and Children Law proceedings. If you would like to learn more about the rules around parental responsibility, contact, holidays and arrangements for separated parents, please click here for the full series.
The next article in the series will address whether or not you are required to have consent from the other parent to move abroad with your child.
If you would like to discuss the different types of legal proceedings relating to children, please get in touch and we’d be happy to assist you.