When a relationship breaks down and there are children involved, your main concern will be to protect your children’s wellbeing. Throughout the separation or divorce process, we never lose sight of the fact that your children’s physical and emotional wellbeing comes first.
Our Solicitors are highly experienced in helping parents and families make arrangements for children following the breakdown of a relationship. We make sure that everyone involved understands their legal rights and responsibilities whilst ensuring that the views of you and your children are heard.
There are a number of ways that issues in respect of your children can be resolved, which include Mediation, Solicitor Negotiation, Collaborative Law and as a last resort court proceedings. You will find that alternatives to the Court process are much quicker and more often deliver the outcome that suits the family as a whole and are generally more long lasting. However, if you do opt for Court proceedings on the basis it is not possible to reach agreement or you need an Emergency Order, the Court has the power to make various Child Arrangement Orders. These include the following: -
· An Order stating with whom your children live.
· An Order stating with whom your children spend time.
· Whether there should be any conditions or restrictions upon whom your children see.
The Court can also make Orders as to what schools your children attend, whether they should live abroad with you or the other parent, their religious upbringing or whether they should receive certain medical treatment.
You should bear in mind that when the Court makes an Order, it must first consider a number of factors (called the Welfare Checklist) and only make an Order if it is absolutely necessary to do so.
It may also be necessary for a Family Court Advisor (Cafcass) to become involved and prepare a report about your children. The role of the Family Court Advisor will be to speak to both you and the other parent, possibly interview your children and then make a recommendation to the Court as to what Orders should be made.
When deciding whether or not to seek a Court Order, you should bear in mind that Court proceedings can take some time to conclude and can also be quite costly.