Every parent wants the best for their children, but keeping focused on this can be difficult in the middle of a divorce or separation. It is always best if you can work together to make decisions about your children. We can help you resolve any differences without dragging them into your disputes.
Most separating couples do not need a court order regarding arrangements for children. The courts recognise parents are best placed to make decisions about their families and will only get involved if one of you makes an application to the court and the court considers that it would be better for the child(ren) for there to be an order in place.
Taking a constructive approach is the best way to ensure you can still co-operate with each other on what is best for your children. Typically, you will need to agree where your children will live (which can be with either or both parents), how much contact you will have if they aren’t living with you and how you will make decisions about schools, holidays, medical treatment or changing children’s names.
Agreeing a way forward together will always be less stressful (and less expensive) and more likely to work in the long term than going to court. If you are struggling to do this by yourselves, there are alternative approaches you could use such as mediation, collaborative law, solicitor correspondence/negotiation or arbitration.
We have a number of highly trained and experienced mediators and collaborative lawyers who specialise in family law issues and who could help you resolve your differences. If you do end up in court, they will make sure it is as pain free as possible.
Changing or Challenging Child Arrangement After Separation
The best contact arrangements after a divorce will be regular and consistent, but also flexible. Your circumstances will probably change over time, and so will your children’s needs as they grow up and want to exercise more independence.
The best solution is to keep open an ongoing dialogue with your ex about your contact arrangements. This will make it easier to amend things as you need to and ensure your children’s interests are always paramount.
However, if you are struggling to reach agreement, we have a number of expert family mediators who will be able to help. Our solicitors will also be able to advise you on the best way forward if the other parent won’t discuss changes with you.
If all else fails you can make an application to the court to alter your contact arrangements. This should only ever be seen as a last resort because it is likely to be very unsettling for your children.