When couples separate when children are involved it can be very difficult for the children involved as well as the parents.
It will take some time for the arrangements to become settled into a routine but it is important that arrangements are put in place as soon after the separation although it is not essential for them to be in place before you can commence the divorce proceedings. The initial discussions that need to take place will be who is to be the main carer for the children or whether it will be on a shared basis. Once this decision has been made it will be a lot easier for the discussion to flow in relation to the contact arrangements.
In most cases, both parents have parental responsibility regarding any children of the family. Therefore, you both have equal rights, regardless of where the children live, or with whom.
It is in a child’s best interests to have a good relationship with both parents. I would always advise for parents to try and reach an agreement with regards to the arrangements directly but this is not always possible. Where this is not possible you would need to consider mediation or negotiation through a solicitor failing which an application to Court would need to be made.
In most cases, a Court will order that children should see their non-resident parent regularly. There are some exceptions to this particularly when it would not be in the children’s best interests. The welfare of the children is the paramount consideration of the Court. The Court will not become involved in the child arrangements during the usual divorce proceedings and will only become involved when an application is made. Within any application, the Court can look at where the children will live and the contact arrangements.
If you wish to discuss these or any other family law issues, please contact Emma Hartley of Newtons Family Team on 0800 038 5500 or 01904 409078 who will be happy to assist.