H initially said he wanted me to have sole custody of the child and we haven`t really discussed a change since we split (he doesn`t talk much bless him and I can`t face another row). Any way I`m in the process of completing the petition and the arrangements for children and my thought is to change to joint (obviously after discussing it with him first) however I wondered what the difference would mean to me and my child, can anyone offer advice please.
As a Dad going through divorce, I can imagine your ex saying that he wants you to have sole custody in a bizarre effort to spite you in some way . If you think he really DOES want to see and have his children on a regular basis (and I can't imagine anyone not wanting to), I would suggest you go for joint. It demonstrates to him that you are taking the children's and his best interests to heart in this whole nasty process. It would be a whole lot less contentious and give him one less thing to throw back at you later.
The impact it may have is that it will affect how much he is obliged to pay you in child maintenance. For every regular night per week that your children stay with him, his CSA obligations are reduced by 1/7. So for Fri and Sat every week, your child maintenance is reduced by 2/7=28%.
Legally the terms custody and access where replaced by residency and contact sometime ago. Shared residency is when the child lives in both homes and courts will sometimes award it when a child spends a reasonable amount of time (usually at least a third) in both homes, there is a history of shared care, there is 'fluid' passage and close proximity to both homes and school. Sometimes a shared residency order is regarded as a useful tool to make parents cooperate and accept each other.
Shared residency may supply a right to council housing and it may make future relocation to a different area more difficult, but it's really not much different to contact/residency. Whether shared residency works or not depends upon how organised and reasonable parents are.
If, as Mike says, your ex doesn't want to share residency out of spite there is nothing you can do to make a parent see a child if they don't want. On the other hand with work commitments sometimes it's just not be practical. My ex very seldom |(less than twice a year on average) had the children overnight, but they could move relatively freely between the two homes. In my experience arrangements do tend to change and a degree of flexibility is required. Initially my ex was more involved after separation than during marriage, probably because he was lonely and feared loosing the children.
After a while he relaxed and then started a relationship with someone 27 years younger who didn't really want anything to do with our children. For a while he lived 400 miles away. When he moved back our youngest was 16 and had a pretty hectic social life so they met when they could. TBH the amount of time they spent together didn't seem to make that much difference, they have always had a good relationship.