Children

Won't someone think of the children?

It is generally recognised that the more amicable a divorce or separation is, the less damage is done to the children of that relationship.

In all the heat and emotion, parents sometimes forget their responsibilities to their children – at best failing to let children know what is happening, and at worst using them as pawns in a war no one wins.

In law, the welfare of the children from a relationship should be the main focus of any settlement. In life, however, it can be very different.

Judges are increasingly frustrated at the number of cases brought to settle contact, access and residence arrangements between parents. So if you can settle these aspects in advance, you can remove hostility from your divorce and offer your children a calmer path between their parents.

In law, both parents are treated equally: fathers and mothers have equal rights.

The starting point for a “good” divorce or separation is your Separation Agreement. While useful for resolving financial issues at an early stage, these can also be important instruments in helping couples come to agreement on contact, access, custody and residence issues before the courts become involved.

Who the children live with often becomes an issue and one that is frequently decided by the court through a Residence Order. If your children are old enough, their views will be taken into consideration by the Judge.

The courts are also keen for non-resident parents to maintain contact with their children. If contact with your child or children is an issue, you can seek a Contact Order from the court, which sets out the terms on which you can have contact with your children.

Being separated or divorced does not change your legal responsibility for, or your rights towards, your children. The courts now expect parents to make their own arrangements for children on separation and divorce, often through mediation or collaboration.

Many couples resolve issues concerning their children without ever needing to seek assistance. Unfortunately, other parents need help and that’s where we come in. We work with parents to help them resolve issues concerning their children, either through mediation and collaboration or through the courts.