Arrangements for children

Arrangements for children

When a relationship breaks down and there are children involved, often the first priority is for the parents to make arrangements for them.  This includes whether the children will be cared for with a sharing of that responsibility by both parents and whether this includes an equal amount of time with each or more with one parent than the other.  In the majority of cases this is dealt with amicably and arrangements agreed.  This is not always possible, however, when disputes arise our Solicitors in Ipswich, Felixstowe,HadleighWoodbridge and Melton can help you by providing advice and assistance and drawing on our considerable number years of expertise in this area.

family in bedWhat are the issues for child arrangements?

Every situation will be different and arrangements for children always need to be considered on the basis of what meets the welfare of the children.  This can mean looking at practical issues such as:

  • where each parent is living
  • where that is in relation to the children’s school
  • whether either of the parents work and, if so, whether this impacts on the amount of time that they have available to care for the children
  • if one parent has historically cared for the children more than the other, whether that is relevant going forward
  • if a child is old enough to express their wishes and feelings then, depending upon the age of the child, the child’s wishes and feelings may also be very relevant.

Keeping up communications when children are concerned

If you are finding it difficult to talk to the other parent and to resolve arrangements then one of our Solicitors can advise you as to the next steps and what the options might be.  Each of the Solicitors in our Family Team are Members of the Resolution Organisation and are committed to resolving parental conflict disputes in a way that minimises, wherever possible, acrimony going forward. This recognises the need for parents of children to continue to maintain, where possible, good communication that benefits their children. We will work with you to achieve the best outcome for your situation, for you and your child through these difficult times. Often matters can be agreed through our advice, communicating with the other party or their solicitor where appropriate and coming to a solution that works for the children and parents and this is often achieved within the first few months after separation.

Mediation

Another method of resolving arrangements for children is for parents to attend at mediation; this is a constructive way to agree arrangements.  If you are not an existing client of the firm then Helen Stuart in our Family Department would be able to assist with mediation for parents willing and suitable to attend. She has a strong reputation for her skills in mediation in Ipswich, Suffolk and North Essex, to get the most out of it for both clients. Typically around 2 to 4 mediation sessions over a period of 6 to 8 weeks would lead to a resolution of issues. However if you are a client of the Team and mediation is an appropriate option, we cannot undertake your mediation as it is a conflict of interest. We have good links with several local mediators who we can refer you to.

Mediation is not always suitable and, despite everybody’s best endeavours, arrangements cannot always be agreed.  We have considerable experience in making Applications to the Court and can assist you in completion of the application forms as well as representation at Court hearings where each of our Solicitors have considerable experience of representing clients at Court on such Applications.

Court Applications

Since April 2011 parties are required, in most cases, to have attended at an information session concerning mediation before they can make a Court Application.

In the unfortunate event of a Court Application having to be made the matters that are often dealt with relate to:-

  • Whether a child or children should spend more time with one parent than the other
  • If so, how much time the child should spend with the other parent
  • Whether the child should attend a particular school or undergo particular medical treatment
  • If parents are living some distance apart, which parent should be responsible for transporting the children to and from the other parent or whether that responsibility should be shared
  • If one parent wishes to re-locate and move abroad, whether the other parent consents or whether permission of the Court is required to enable that move to take place

A court application can take anywhere from 6 to 12 months to conclude and our dedicated solicitors will be on hand throughout that time to assist and advise on the process.

How can our family lawyers help you?

A meeting with one of our Family Lawyers to discuss the range of options available to you at an early stage can be invaluable.   We can advise on the legal background to a dispute and options that might resolve that dispute which could include round-table meetings with the other party and their legal team, mediation, negotiation with the other party’s solicitors or the Court process.

We offer an initial fixed price interview that clients find extremely informative and enables clients to decide on the next step.

Want to know more?

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