Making child arrangements if you are going through divorce or separation
Where the children will live?
How much time can they spend with me or their father?
Who is financially responsible for the children?
Divorce clients will usually address the above questions when seeking legal advice on children arrangements when they are considering divorce or separation.
Every case is different and every parent has different expectations and needs.
Some parents manage to have an open conversation about the arrangements for their children while others find it difficult to agree on certain aspects. A Parenting Plan can be agreed between the parties on a voluntary basis, which will detail how much time the children can spend with each parent and which days, who will be responsible to drop them off to school or pick them up from their extra curriculum activities.
When parents separate though, sometimes, they find it difficult to think straight as emotions run high. They also find it challenging to agree with the other parent’s proposal as they are not sure whether the proposed plan will be in the best interest of their child.
In some cases, the parent will not want to be involved or they will do everything in their power to frustrate the mechanics of the agreement. A mediator can be instructed to see both parents, either in the same session or separately, in order to assist them with reaching an agreement.
Mediation will also be an expectation from the Judge, when making an application to the court to regulate the children's arrangements. Your case may be dismissed if the relevant certificate (MIAM), is not provided when making the application.
With the backlog of applications that the Family Courts are faced with there is an expectation now more than ever that the parties will do everything in their power to reach an agreement between themselves, without the need to take the matter to the court.
Whilst every case is treated and considered differently, the parents should focus on working together to reach an agreement with regards to the main aspects of their children’s lives. (for example; who the children will live with? Will it be in the best interest of the children to see the non live-in parent every other weekend? What are the children's arrangements?)
The focus should be on the children’s needs, their wishes and feelings, and the effects of any agreement will have on their lives. In a recent case for children arrangements order, his Honour Judge Wildblood QC also made a clear warning:
‘Not to bring your private law litigation to the family court here unless it is genuinely necessary for you to do so,’ he said. ‘You should settle your differences (or those of your clients) away from court, except where that is not possible. If you do bring unnecessary cases to this court, you will be criticised, and sanctions may be imposed upon you.’
Our specialist team is available to answer your questions and guide you through the divorce process. Whilst facing social distancing constraints, we have adapted a flexible approach that adapts to our clients’ needs, with over the phone meetings.