What is Shared Parenting?
A Child Needs Both Parents Love & Guidance
Shared parenting is when children are brought up with the love and guidance of both parents following a separation.
There is much discussion about how to describe the continued involvement of both parents in the lives of their children following separation or divorce. ‘Shared Parenting’, ‘Equal Parenting’, ‘Involved Parenting’, ‘Co-operative Parenting’, ‘Parallel Parenting’ and other terms are used.
Generally, the term ‘shared parenting’ is preferred. Unlike some of the others, It makes it explicit that both parents must share this role. Of course, cooperation should be earnestly sought, and equality is a desirable long-term objective, but ‘shared parenting’ captures these features and more.
What do we mean by 'shared parenting'?
Firstly, shared parenting goes wider than the time each parent spends with their children. It must involve the child spending a significant proportion of their time with each parent. But it does not imply a stated or fixed proportion of parenting time allocated to each parent, much less than the child’s time is divided equally between the two parents in every case.
If children only spend a limited amount of time with their non-resident parents, such as a fortnightly visit with some time around holidays, this is not considered shared parenting. Parents with so little active parenting time can not be effectively involved in any important decisions that need to be taken.
It is important to note that shared parenting does not imply a single time in a child’s life. Instead, it refers to a childhood-long parenting plan. The plan is reviewed periodically and adapted to fit a child’s emotional, scholastic and physical needs as they grow.