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?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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…
- They used to be rare because it was considered that they would only work in a situation of close co-operation. 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.
- 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!