However, on occasions a shared residence order might be made, under which the children live with both of their parents at different times. The factors which will be considered by the court when deciding whether a shared residence order is appropriate are:
- the distance between the two homes. Where they are far apart the likelihood of shared residence is much reduced;
- the children’s perception that they have two homes, not just one;
- the proximity of the homes to the children’s school;
- the demonstration of clear bonds of affection between the children and each of the parents;
- the history of the degree of contact with each parent. Where this is substantial with both parents a shared residence order is more likely; and
- the views of the children themselves.
It is essential that the reality of the shared residence order is that it will benefit the welfare of the children. However, the existence of a co-operative attitude between the parents is not a prerequisite, so a frosty or even hostile relationship may not prevent a shared residence order being granted.
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