When parents separate, they are encouraged to make their own arrangements for the children to spend time with both of them. Each family is different. Each family has their own needs in terms of fitting work around child care, school runs and weekend activities. Each family has their own way of planning for holidays and visiting relatives.
If these arrangements are agreed then the separating couple do not need any legal document to enable them to continue to co-parent their children as they see fit.
However, a range of disagreements can arise, especially when communication between the parents has broken down. We are frequently consulted about the following problems:
- Where should the children have their main home?
- How much time should they spend with the other parent?
- Should very young children stay overnight?
- Should other family members’ wishes be taken into account?
- What arrangements should be made for school holidays?
- Should the children be allowed to travel abroad?
Many disagreements can be resolved by each party taking some legal advice so that they can better understand how to approach separated parenting. Mediation may help parents to sit and talk through their problems in a safe setting.
Sometimes however problems cannot be resolved without the need for court intervention. This is particularly the case where one party is making unreasonable demands that do not make the children’s welfare the most important concern.
Sometimes there are serious problems with alcohol and drug use or domestic abuse and criminality. Such cases require expertise in correctly presenting evidence to the court so that safe decisions can be made.
Child Arrangements Orders
If your issue is concerns where the children should live or how much time they should spend with the other parent then you may be advised to apply to the court for a Child Arrangements Order. The court will encourage agreement and cooperation at every stage but can ultimately decide arrangements if parents cannot agree between themselves.
Specific Issue Orders
An application for a Specific Issue Order may be required to resolve a dispute about a single issue concerning children. Typical examples are:
- Permission to take a child overseas for a holiday.
- Permanent relocation overseas.
- Change to a child’s surname.
- To decide which school a child should attend.
Prohibited Steps Orders
An application for a Prohibited Steps Order may be required to prevent a parent taking certain steps with respect to a child. Most commonly this order is used to prevent a parent taking a child out of the UK without permission or attempting to change their school without permission.
If you want to discuss your Child Arrangements Orders, Specific Issue Orders, Prohibited Steps Orders or any other aspect of separated parenting please contact Dan Bonsall or Hayley King on 0161 434 0600 or firstname.lastname@example.org.