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Separation - what living arrangement works best?

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Separation - what living arrangement works best?

Parent/Carer Community Champion

Separation - what living arrangement works best?

Hi everyone,


I have three children (aged 11, 12, 15) and have 'separated' from my wife. I use quotation marks because we are all still living together (and we haven't told the kids).


My wife does not like her work (and the pay is horrible). She also lacks qualifications and so we are staying together until she is better placed to live apart (so my following question is not time sensitive, but would sill love your feedback) . . .


When we do separate, I would like to have our kids 50% of the time. I also would like to be flexible (e.g., if my wife was doing shift work then I would work around that).


In general (in situations where both parents are capable of looking after the kids and both parents want whats best for the kids) do you think 50/50 is best for the kids? Or something else?


What arrangement do you think works best? 

Star contributor

Re: Separation - what living arrangement works best?

Hi @Dad4good,


There are some great questions here, I am going to tag a few parents who have mentioned separation/divorce/blended families in their posts who may be able to share their insights with you.


@dursak @3Jellybabies @sarabell101 @PapaBill @Justin_T 


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Parent/Carer Community Champion

Re: Separation - what living arrangement works best?

Hi @Dad4good 


Sorry to hear that your relationship has reached the point where you need to spereate.

My ex and I went through that a number of years ago.


Sparing all the gory detail sand to talk to the specific of custody arrangements for younger teens.

We found the following worked well for us:


School Term

  • Mon-Tue every second Wed with Dad
  • Thur- Friday and every second Wed with Mum 
  • Alternative weekends 

Why something that looks so complex?

  • #1 Reason  Avoid large time separated from a parent (average 3.5 apart) because a week is a long time for a young teen
  • Consistent week days so after school activities can be with same parent
  • Easy to plan both work and social activities ( I traveled for work so I could do that late in the week)


  • some activities only done with one parent if they occur on a single night of the week


In practices this became

3D followed by 2M followed by 4D and finally 5M

M T W T F S S ||  M T W T F S S

D D D M M DD || D D M M M M M



Week on and week off because I (or my ex) often took the kids away camping or some other trip



What didn't work..??

My ex was paranoid I was trying to screw her over.. every time someone (myself or the kids) wanted a change it was like re-negotiating the Paris accords.   Try to be flexible and fair and flex the schedule as needed. 


Parent/Carer Community Champion

Re: Separation - what living arrangement works best?

Thanks so much for your response @PapaBill, really appreciate it!


Good to hear that you guys found a suitable solution.


My wife feels that the kids should have a "main" home (regular switching could lead them feeling unsettled).


From your experience, did you get a sense of that being an issue in your family?

Parent/Carer Community Champion

Re: Separation - what living arrangement works best?

Hi @Dad4good 


Obviously the separation was unsettling for them. 


In our case, each child had an individual room for themselves in each house which allowed them to have their own space at each home.   Doing this minimized the unsettling that is natural in such a big change.


In our case my ex moved out, and I stayed in the marital home.  

By allowing the kids to take stuff from the marital home to their mothers allowed them to keep familiar things with them.    The beds, bedding, furniture etc they had before separation all moved out with them. 

So while they "new home" had the "familiar furniture" the "familiar home" had "new furniture"



If they are truly only concerned with excessive switching.. Make the custody week on week off.

If that is not acceptable, I wonder anyone talking "main" home is really meaning they should have greater than 50/50 custody.