Sorting out child living arrangements after divorce or separation

Originally published on 24th September 2019 at 4:29 PM
Reading time: 2 mins
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Children thrive on the kind of dependable order that only we as parents can provide them. Getting the basic arrangements in place quickly is an important step that parents can take to minimise the long-term impact on children and help the process of healthy recovery. There are many different care patterns you can choose for your family. You should agree on a pattern that works for your children at the age they are now and be prepared to change to a different pattern as they get older.

Ask feedback from your children but be clear you are the adults and you will make the final decision. Beware of asking them too much, what they want – they potentially don’t know, or it will not be possible…then your asking will seem insincere to them.

As a guide

  • Make sure there are duplicate sets of clothes/shoes in each home and that you and the other parent have an agreement to take equal responsibility for laundry. Don’t send dirty clothes back to the other parent!
  • Share the responsibility for knowing the children’s homework schedule and ensuring that homework deadlines are met.
  • Both maintain an informed overview of your children’s developing social lives, so these are accommodated as seamlessly as possible between both homes.
  • Try to each ensure that when the children are with you, life is a mixture of ordinary daily routine and fun down-time, so that neither experience becomes polarised between the two homes.
  • Remember, when it’s your time with the children you’re responsible for their care. Don’t expect the other parent to accommodate you automatically if your plans need to change.

Your children are your first and last priority – work and other arrangements come second.

Here are some questions and considerations to help you make living arrangements work. (Some of the questions and considerations won’t be relevant to everyone):

  • How will we share the care? E.g. shared care with 50/50 time split
  • What pattern of days works best? E.g. week on / week off
  • Will our work allow for any new arrangements we are considering?
  • Where will we and the kids live? E.g. we both live in separate houses near to their school
  • If neither of us can look after the children, who are we agreed can look after them? E.g. family members, friends, babysitters etc
  • How will pick ups and drop offs work?
  • Are there times where contacting the kids is inconvenient when with the other parent?

If you and/or your ex would like some help with any aspect of co-parenting. Get in touch for advice from an amicable expert.


Who does the child live with after separation?

Child living arrangements after divorce or separation are usually decided by factors including who can support the child the best, both financially and emotionally, and who the child would prefer to live with.

At what age is a child most affected by divorce?

There is no fixed formula for when children are most affected by divorce. Children will express how they feel at different ages about their parents’ divorce or separation, and this can be to varying degrees in different children. One thing that can be done to reduce the potential impact a divorce or separation can have on a child is to prevent acrimony and promote civility between both parents.

Do most children live with their mothers after a divorce?

According to the ONS (Office for National Statistics, 2014-2021) 89% of Parents with Care (the Primary Caregiver) were female and 88% of non-residential parents were male. Statistically, this proves the affirmative that most children live with their mother following divorce.

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Co-parenting advice

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Comments (2)

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13.05.2021 23:43

Do you help with domestic abuse related cases please

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Holly from amicable
14.05.2021 10:54

Hi Shona, I'm sorry to hear you are suffering. Unfortunately, we cannot help with domestic abuse cases, however, there are a couple of websites that may be of some help to you, see below: The National Domestic Violence Charity - Legal Aid Leaflet - Resolution database - - for a legal aid family lawyer specialising in Domestic Abuse.