Co parenting under the one roof

by Kate Marr on May 15, 2016

Kate Marr

Living separately under the one roof

On 9 September 2015, KIIS 106.5 FM published on their website an article headlined “Affleck and Garner Stay Separated, Living In Same Compound”. The article queried if Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner’s decision to remain living in the same property compound is ambitious or admirable.

From reading the article, it seems at this stage; Jennifer Garner will remain living in the main family home on the compound with the children, while Ben Affleck will live in his own separate quarters located on the same property. Their decision to remain living together on the same property is reportedly with the view of preventing their separation having an impact on their relationship with their children. They can practically co-parent, sharing the parenting responsibilities and the children having the flexibility of spending time with both parents frequently.

In theory, this seems to be a very mature approach to parenting. Despite the scandalous reports in the media as to the reason why their marriage broke down, it seems that they can put their differences aside and indeed focus on their children’s best interests. However, it’s hard not to think about the difficulties that could also arise from living in the same property compound with your ex-partner.

What happens in respect to payment of utilities and other household expenses? After separation, when negotiating a property settlement and drafting property orders, the ultimate aim is to financially sever all financial ties between the separating couple. Accordingly, if the parties do not have to consult with each other regarding financial matters moving forward if they do not want to.

What if living at the same property unnecessarily exposes the children to conflict between the parents? What happens if or when once party re partners? Does the new partner also live on the compound? One would think that this scenario would be awkward for all involved and could cause confusion to the children. Instead, it could indeed be in the children’s best interests that there is a (small) distance between their separated parent’s residences.

What do you think? Is this type of co-parenting after separation likely to succeed?

From a lot of clients that I see, this type of co-parenting arrangement would likely fail. Perhaps I’m being too cynical. Those parents where this arrangement could work are perhaps those who are not coming to see me to seek legal advice. They may be able to effectively communicate with their ex-spouse, and they still respect and trust each other to co-parent the children effectively, without the intervention of courts or legal representatives.

If you wish to seek advice regarding parenting arrangements that is consistent with the children’s best interests moving forward, please contact our office to arrange an initial conference with one of our family lawyers.

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