Of the many questions asked when advising parents who are going through a divorce or separating, is when will I see my children? This is often the most emotional issue.
The courts approach
The law in relation to what was once called access and custody to contact and residence orders and now child arrangements orders. You may find the evolving terminology used by the courts to be confusing and you need to know where you stand. Whilst recent changes to the law may have at one time hinted at shared parenting, recent legislation have instead underlined the presumption of continued parental involvement meaning that both parents should be involved in a child’s life subject to any concerns over a child’s welfare.
We find that the best approach is for both parents to meet and discuss the children and to come up with a plan by working through the issues together. Sadly life is not as simple as that for many parents owing to circumstances arising out of their separation and they cannot readily agree when or sometimes if their former spouse or partner should see the children. Conflicts may arise even where the best made plans have been made where adjustments are required to cater for special events such as Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, Christmas or your child’s best friend’s birthday party.
There are many organisations and resources available that will help you through the real difficulties you face. If you are having difficulties communicating with your former spouse or partner you may find it helpful to attend a Separated Parents Information Programme. This is a programme aimed at assisting parents to think about issues from their child’s point of view.
Where can I find these resources?
You may have already been in contact with a counselling service who may have helped you. Some organisations like Relate offer Family Counselling and the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (“CAFCASS”) provides information to assist parents build a Parenting Plan.
What if we can’t agree who will have the children?
You may consider using a mediator to assist achieving resolution but it is important to find out what is the best option for you and your family.
I was not married to nor lived with my child’s mother can I still see my child?
You may have become a parent as a result of a brief relationship only finding out sometime after the relationship has finished that you are a parent. You may not have been named on your child’s birth certificate but this does not prevent you seeing your child or playing a meaningful part in their life.
Whilst there is a great deal of information available you may prefer to speak to a solicitor face to face who will be able to give you the confidence to assist you make an informed decision and find the right solution for you and your child. If so please contact James Belderbos on 01572 490 660.