Sam's Story

 

1. Practicalities

How did you reach your shared parenting arrangements? We agreed betweebn ourselves and then a solicitor made it official with a letter.

When did you reach your agreements? Within about year of separating.

"I normally go to see them at their mum’s on birthdays. We now do Christmas together as well."

What are the practicalities of your arrangements? I have the kids Monday and Wednesday for two hours and they stay every second weekend from Friday evening until Sunday evening. Over the holidays I keep them extra weekends and days.

What arrangements did you make in relation to holidays and special days (such as birthdays, Christmas, religious holidays)? Over the holidays I keep them extra weekends and days. I normally go to see them at their mum’s on birthdays. We now do Christmas together as well.

How far is it between your house and your ex-partner's house? Approximately 2-3 miles.

Were/are your arrangements flexible and adaptable to changes in your child’s life? Very flexible.

How were arrangements altered as the children grew up? Arrangements have remained the same except we do Christmas together.

"...remember that the most important thing is the kids and their happiness. Put your own difference aside and work as a team."

3. Looking Ahead

Would you recommend shared parenting as a policy objective of the Scottish Government? Yes because every parent should have involvement in their kids life. It’s time for the Neanderthal idea that kids only need their mums has to be put to bed. I’m a firm believer that dads are just as important as mums. No question!

What advice and recommendation would you give to other separating families who are considering using shared parenting?  Do it between yourselves. Agree on things and remember that the most important thing is the kids and their happiness. Put your own difference aside and work as a team.

2. Outcomes

How has shared parenting affected the relationship between you and your children? I believe I do more with the kids now than I did when I was with their mum which in turn makes me feel like a better dad.

Do you feel shared parenting allows your children to feel connected to both their parents? Yes.

Do you feel shared parenting changed the amount of support and encouragement your children receives from each of you? Not at all.

Do you think it helped to diminish conflict/increase communication between you? Without a shadow of a doubt. The fact we work together as parents is a huge plus.

How do you feel the environment of two homes affects the activities/hobbies your child is involved in? It doesn’t. My kids still do hobbies etc. If it’s my weekend then due to me not being allowed to drive for medical reasons their mum will pick them up and drop them back to me once clubs finished.

"I believe I do more with the kids now than I did when I was with their mum, which in turn makes me feel like a better dad."

Do you think shared parenting influenced your child’s social skills and friendships? No.

How has shared parenting affected your child’s independence and autonomy – feeling good about him/herself? I don’t think it is any different from whether we were a couple or not.

Do you feel shared parenting influenced your child’s education or school life? If it has then it’s only for the better as my kids are receiving glowing reports and great results at school.

Separation is often reported to have adverse effects on children – they can feel torn between parents, they are more likely to manifest stress and adverse life experiences. How far in your own case do you think sharing parenting influenced these effects for your children? I don’t agree with this, in fact shared parenting can have the opposite effect. My kids have been relieved to come and stay at mines when their mum has been on their case and in a mood. It gives them a break from it and vice versa when I’m on their case then they go home.