A shared residence order simply states that the children have 2 homes – rather than living with one parent and seeing the other the children live with both.
It does not have to be on an equal basis and the children can live with one parent only 1 or 2 days per week but the label is still that they live there as opposed to visit.
What is the point of a shared residence order?
It equalises the power between the parents. It emphasises that both have similar rights and responsibilities, which is the point of parental responsibility but it has practical implications too. It may supply a right to council housing, it carries more weight than a contact order if the other parent wishes to leave the area or even the country. It currently has judicial approval.
How common are shared residence orders?
They used to be rare, the thinking being that in order for them to work there had to be cooperation and goodwill between the parents and if that was the case they would not be in court fighting but would have made their own arrangements.
Now the philosophy has changed and they are regarded as a useful tool to make parents cooperate and accept each other. The increase in father’s rights groups may have had an impact on this.
Do they work?
In many respects they are no different to a contact and residence order and whether they work or not depends upon how organised and reasonable the parents are.
Want to make your child feel awful?
Criticise and berate the other parent in front of them.
Want your child to grow up insecure?
Tell him/her that he is useless like his/her other parent. It is very easy to destroy your own child and telling someone that they are stupid when they are 5 will shape their adult personality.
The choice is yours – you may hate your ex but encouraging your child to do so will damage your child irreparably!