This article examines how five county courts promoted parental involvement in contact and residence disputes, both in terms of the formal orders made and the time patters that were in place when the cases left court. This research is based on a sample of 174 parent versus parent cases in which a final order was made between February and August 2011. All five courts encouraged as much contact as possible in the circumstances of the case. The courts took a pragmatic approach to increasing contact time for non-resident parents, which meant that the quality of care (good or bad) was rarely expressly discussed in the cases. A consistently cautious approach to transfers of sole residence was seen, which contrasted with a lack of consensus on when shared residence orders should be made and for what purpose. This article has been accepted for publication in Child and Family Law Quarterly in Issue 2, Vol 28, Year 2016. The final published version of this article will be published and made publicly available here 24 months after its publication date, under a CC-BY-NC licence.