We understand that issues surrounding children can be difficult and painful for separating parents. In all but the rarest of cases, however, children will still have contact with the parent who does not have the day-to-day care of them so the parents will have some contact with each other. For this reason, we recognise that it is important not to antagonise the situation and to approach such problems with care. We will also look at the situation from the point of view of the child’s best interests as this is the paramount concern if proceedings should ever be issued.
It will go without saying that it is better for the parents and the children if parents can agree arrangements for their children between themselves. Sometimes, however, the relationship between parents is too difficult for them to be able to discuss the arrangements. Sometimes parents have the basis of an agreement but are unsure as to whether the arrangements they have agreed are fair. Sometimes the agreement breaks down. Whatever your concerns, we can give you advice on these issues. If necessary we can also represent you in Court Proceedings.
If you are having problems, please do not delay in seeking advice. In most cases, the longer you leave matters, the more difficult it will be to rectify them.
Sometimes parents benefit from attending mediation. We can refer you to one of several local mediators who will meet with you and your former partner and help you to work towards an agreement.
Generally speaking, Court proceedings will be the last resort. You may be surprised to hear that even if you or your former partner issue Court proceedings, the Court will still expect both parties to try and reach an agreement between themselves. The Judges may give an indication as to the Order(s) that they think would be appropriate in order to help negotiations.
The Courts can make a range of Orders, depending on the children’s needs;
- Parental Responsibility Orders
- Child Arrangements Orders specifying where a child should live and the terms of contact that the child has with the other parent
- Prohibited Steps Orders (which prevent a parent from doing something)
- Specific Issue Orders (if the parents are unable to agree on a particular aspect of their child’s upbringing)
- Adoption (including step parent adoption)
- Recovery Orders
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