Childcare arrangements & agreements after separation... 

We are aware of the impact that any separation, no matter how amicable, will have upon the children of the family.

As members of Resolution, we will always seek to try and resolve issues between separating parents as amicably as possible and ensure that all communication and correspondence is appropriate. Court applications are always the last resort.

We want to support you in reaching a constructive agreement without Court involvement. The agreement can then provide a positive and workable solution for you and your children.

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We start with discussing and considering realistic options and the promotion of communication. We are here for you and can advise on likely outcomes and focus on the things that matter.

We appreciate this can be difficult, especially when one parent is upset due to the breakdown of the marriage and has sought support from third parties. It is important however, to ensure that children are protected from negative views of either parent; they shouldn’t be involved in the issues surrounding the breakdown of the marriage or reference to blame and fault.

If parents can co-operate with each other and encourage others to do so, this ensures pressure on the children is minimised and enables them to focus on their future and well being.

When parents cannot agree on where the children should live or when the non-resident parent should see the children, it may be necessary to make an application to the Court for a Child Arrangements Order.

The Court maintains the concept of shared parenting and a presumption of continued parental involvement. If a party wants to make an application to Court, they will have to attend a meeting known as a MIAM (Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting), unless an exemption is appropriate. This is a meeting with a specially qualified family mediator to consider whether your issues can be resolved without going to court.

The Court can make a Child Arrangements Order to deal with the following:

  1. Where the child should live when there is a disagreement between the parents;
  2. Who the child should have contact with and when
  3. Who has Parental Responsibility for the child? For example, when the parents are not married and the father’s name is not on the birth certificate, only the mother will have Parental Responsibility. Without Parental Responsibility, you cannot give consent for medical treatment, nor will you be involved fully in important issues such as schooling and education.

It is possible for other people to apply for a Child Arrangements Order such as grandparents or individuals. However, permission from the Court may be required to make such an application.

  • Prohibited steps - Where one parent objects to a specific course of action the other parent is intending to take, for example, moving with the child to another area and/or changing the surname.
  • Specific issue - An Order to decide on a particular issue for the child, for example, schooling, medical treatment, religion.

The law looks at it from the child’s perspective. The child has the right to a meaningful relationship with both parents except in exceptional circumstances. The Court takes into consideration that the children’s welfare is paramount.

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