What happens to my child after I separate/divorce?
Tuesday, October 19, 2021
What happens to?
The most commonly asked questions from couples separating or divorcing
Tuesday, October 19, 2021
Ideally you and the other parent will agree living and contact arrangements for your child following your separation. Usually, differences of opinion can be resolved through conversation and compromise. Try to consider what’s best for your child and put your own feelings to one side. However, if you cannot reach an agreement, then the next step would be to attend mediation.
What does mediation involve?
In mediation, both you and the other parent will be able to raise things that are important to you and work to agree a solution with the support of a professional mediator.
Family mediation works for many people but it is not right for everyone. It will not be suitable if, for example, there’s been domestic abuse or you’re worried about the safety of the child. The mediator will help you understand if it could be suitable for your situation.
What if we cannot arrangements for our child?
If the arrangements for your child cannot be agreed via mediation, a Child Arrangements Order can be applied for. A Child Arrangements Order is an order from the Court setting out arrangements for where your child shall live and when they will spend time with both parents. For example, your child may spend weeknights with you and weekends with their other parent or alternate weeks with each parent.
The Order can also set out other types of contact such as through phone calls and video calls and also the arrangements for holidays and special occasions, such as birthdays and Christmas.
What do the courts consider when making a child arrangements order?
First and foremost, the courts will consider what is in the best interests of your child using the welfare checklist, which considers the following:
- The wishes and feelings of your child concerned dependent on their age and level of understanding
- Your child’s physical, emotional and educational needs
- The likely effect on your child if circumstances changed as a result of the court’s decision
- Your child’s age, sex, background and any other characteristics which will be relevant to the court’s decision
- Any harm your child has suffered or may be at risk of suffering
- The capability of you and the other parent at meeting your child’s needs.
Do I need a solicitor to help me?
It is possible to apply for a Child Arrangement Order without legal support, but it’s a good idea to get professional advice from a Solicitor. They can support you through the process, explaining how the court works, what to expect during the process, what forms to fill in and how to respond to any correspondence you receive.
A Solicitor could also help to improve the outcome for you, because you’ll have someone acting on your behalf who knows the law and how the court works.
If you would like further advice on this topic or any other family matters then please get in touch with our specialist and friendly Family Law team on 0191 2328451 or if you prefer, via email firstname.lastname@example.org