Nice to see this article about a successful co-parenting situation.
SEAN BROGAN is ”enormously proud” of what he and his ex-wife, Ayela Thilo, have achieved for their family.
Divorced for nine years, they share custody of their three children, Arielle, 17, Sienna, 13, and Oliver, 11, in a ”week on week off” arrangement.
Mr Brogan agreed with the findings of the Shared Care Parenting Arrangements study that shared custody is positive for both parental satisfaction and children’s wellbeing.
”In a funny kind of way it has given the kids a sense of stability,” he said. ”They know where they’ll be at any given time, if they’ve got something coming up they see whether they’ll be with mum or dad and talk to that person about it.”
The arrangement has also improved his relationship with Ms Thilo by increasing co-operation and joint decision-making.
”We were determined to make it work for the children,” he said. ”It has certainly healed any rift we might have had. We talk regularly, we talk about school things. Another upside is that it allows the non-custodial parent time out in their week off and time to do all the things they want to pursue.”
It’s in the news because of a recent report evaluating shared care arrangements since 2006 (PDF). At that time, a new emphasis was placed on shared parenting arrangements, rather than custody.
Among the findings of the study:
This research confirms that children‘s wellbeing is optimised under certain circumstances:
- Parents are able to cooperate about the arrangements for the children
- Parents have a say in making decisions about the child
- There is relatively little conflict between the parents
- Parents believe that each parent is paying their fair share of the costs associated with raising children.
Overall, this research paints a relatively positive picture of shared care in terms both of parental satisfaction and children‘s wellbeing. However, it remains only a relatively small minority of parents who can share the care of the children and fewer still manage to sustain it for a substantial period of time.
I’m firmly of the opinion that a good divorce between people who are genuinely concerned about their kids and who are determined to share the parenting is far less damaging for kids than an intractable, conflict-filled marriage. I may be one of the lucky ones, but this kind of arrangement has worked well for me and my boys, who are so far thriving under the care of both their loving parents.
It’s a big ask. It requires parents to work together at a time when their will to do so may be at its weakest. But perhaps knowing that this setup is good for children would help parents to muster the ability to make shared parenting work when staying married doesn’t.