Whether you have just separated from your partner or are in the first throes of divorce proceedings, if you have children one of your initial concerns will be to make sure that you get to see them soon and as often as possible. Initially you will be concerned with short-term arrangements, but as the dust begins to settle you will need to start to think about what should happen in the longer term. Specifically, you will need to think about:
- where each child should live;
- whether they can and should stay at the same school;
- transport arrangements to and from school;
- how you will cover the school holidays;
- how your working patterns might affect your availability;
- how much time the children should spend with each parent; and
- whether you can each take the children on holiday.
The answers to these questions will vary depending on the circumstances and what you and your former partner agree.
The best outcomes for children are normally achieved where the arrangements have been agreed amicably between their parents rather than imposed on them by the court. Danelle Foley, family law solicitor at Mooney Everett Solicitors in Ormskirk, Lancashire explains why and how collaborative law can help.
“Following separation or divorce, it can be difficult to think clearly and logically when it comes to something as important as your children; but keeping the lines of communication open between parents at this difficult time can have long-term benefits for everyone”, says Danelle.
As your children grow older, being able to discuss and adapt your arrangements for childcare and spending quality time together will become even more important.
Arrangements agreed between parents can be tailored to recognise the challenges a growing and constantly evolving family can face in a way a court order may struggle to do.
Taking expert family law advice can really assist you in ensuring the best decisions for you and your family are made. Your solicitor will look at the case from a Judge’s perspective and would think about what decisions the court would make (if the matter was taken to court) and why. They will help you work out the details to make sure the arrangements decided on are both fair and practical.
Danelle Foley has extensive experience in helping families plan for children in an amicable rather than confrontational way.
The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. The law may have changed since this article was published. Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.