Can I have shared ‘custody’ like Lily Allen?

The singer Lily Allen has revealed that, as part of the arrangements following her separation and divorce from Sam Cooper, she and her ex-husband share ‘custody’ of their two children. Ms Allen says that the children spend alternate weeks with each parent, allowing her to concentrate fully on her work in the studio when they are with their father. She says that she and her ex-husband are still really friendly, and that the arrangement worked out as it did because the children go to a school equidistant from the houses where she and her ex-husband live.

But could such an arrangement, whereby the children share equal, or nearly equal, amounts of time with each parent, work for you?

Shared ‘custody’ arrangements are not in fact that unusual, although that term is strictly now incorrect, as the law no longer uses the word ‘custody’ in relation to arrangements for children – ‘shared care’ is now a more accepted term.

It is possible, although quite rare, for a court to impose a shared care arrangement upon the parents. More often, such arrangements are agreed between the parents. The reason for this is obvious: shared care arrangements are most likely to work where, as with Ms Allen, the parents remain on good terms with one another. They also obviously rely upon practicalities, such as both parents having suitable accommodation for the children and, again as with Ms Allen, both parents living reasonably close to the children’s school(s).

If you are able to agree a shared care arrangement with the other parent, then it is not normally necessary to have the arrangement incorporated into a court order.

If you would like any further advice about shared care then Family Law Cafe can assist. To contact us click the Contact link above and fill in the form, or call us on 020 3904 0506.

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Image of Lily Allen by Warner Music Sweden [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons.