Can you Co-Parent Without Joint Residency?

I believe you can. However, it was suggested to me recently that you can’t. So, I thought I would research the idea of co-parenting to see.

What is co-parenting?

According to, the definition of co-parenting is a process where two parents work together to raise a child even though they are divorced or separated and no longer live together. An example of co-parenting is when a divorced mother and father share legal and physical custody of their child. Elsewhere on the web, the article “Co—parenting tips for divorced parents” suggests that co-parenting is having both parents play an active role in their children’s daily lives, working co-operatively for the benefit of the children.

10 important elements of co-parenting?

  1. Forget the blame game – It is important not to blame one another to, or in front of, the children. They don’t need to know who did what, just that you both love them and want the best for them.
  2. Share memories – Just because you are no longer living with the other parent, doesn’t mean that you can’t share family memories, photos and videos with your children.
  3. Don’t leak issues – The children shouldn’t think that they can’t have what they want because of the other parent not supporting them adequately financially. They don’t need to know.
  4. Share the good times – Sports matches, shows and parent’s evenings are the ideal opportunities to show that you can spend time together.
  5. Support moving on – Be positive about your ex finding a new partner. You both need to move on and if you are supportive about their new relationship, they should about yours.
  6. Don’t impact on their time – Don't arrange things for times the children are supposed to be with your ex. If unaviodable, give your ex plenty of notice and try to agree on a new day instead. Also, don’t phone the children all the time when they’re not with you.
  7. Don't put the children in the middle – Do not expect them to pass on messages to your ex. Phone them directly. This way you also know the full message got through.
  8. Encourage them to spend time with the other parent – Try not to discourage the children wanting to see your ex and, where possible, let them spend time with or phone your ex whenever they want to.
  9. Discuss the big stuff – If there are any larger issues, for example, with behaviour, discuss these with your ex and decide how you will both deal with the issue.
  10. Remember you won’t always get it right, but it is worth persevering.

Can you Co-Parent Without Joint Residency?

None of the above requires an equal, or close to equal, division of time that the children spend with each parent. It is simply the idea that two parents work together for the benefit of the children. If it is possible, I believe that is the best way forward.

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Tamsin Caine is a Chartered Financial Planner at Smart Divorce. Specialising in separating or divorcing clients to help them to understand dividing their finances to moving forward with their lives. If you would like to speak to Tamsin or find out more about how she can help, email her at any time or telephone 07975 922766 during office hours.

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