We’re separating – how do we agree over the child arrangements?

When parents separate it can often be difficult to see past the reasons the relationship ended in order to focus positively on the arrangements for the children. Putting your children first is the right thing to do but this can be very hard, particularly when there has been an acrimonious split and emotions are running high.

If arrangements for the children cannot be agreed then one or both parents may seek legal advice and invite the other to mediation. In the event of mediation is not successful, either party can make an application to the family court. Court proceedings can often be expensive and exhausting. If the proceedings progress to a final hearing then the Court may take decisions about your children out of your hands and you may not be happy with the outcome or this loss of control.

Even if you manage to agree some arrangements for the children, you and your ex-partner are bound to disagree over some issues. Keep the following in mind as you try to reach a consensus:

  • Compromise. To achieve agreement both parties must be prepared to make concessions.
  • Try to be respectful. Let your ex-partner know about school events, be flexible if possible and take his or her opinions seriously.
  • Choose your battles. Decisions over medical issues and education may be worth a fight but an argument over a new toy or a trip out for tea may not be. Save your energy for the bigger issues.
  • Keep talking. Communication is the key to resolving issues. Issues could quickly snowball out of control if good communication is not maintained.

A poll by Resolution this week found that an overwhelming majority of children (82%) would prefer their parents to divorce than live together unhappily for the sake of the children.

If problems cannot be resolved between the two of you, then seek legal advice quickly. We understand that keeping arrangements for your children running smoothly is not easy. Our dedicated family team at Napthens can assist with any situations that may arise.