Sponsored advice item by Harrogate Family Law
Couples with children are naturally very concerned about where their children will live and how much time they are going to spend with them after divorce or separation. Shared parenting arrangements, where children live part-time with both parents, are becoming more common although this isn’t always practical.
People still talk about custody and access, although the courts now refer to decisions about where your children will live as “child arrangements”.
At Harrogate Family Law, we help parents sort out how to make choices that are in the best interests of the child. This can include making sure your children continue to see members of the extended family, such as aunts and grandparents.
Can we agree things between ourselves?
Couples often manage to agree things between themselves, or with help from us. In fact, the court expects parents to come up with a plan. If they can’t agree, we can help with negotiations or mediation could be helpful. We try and avoid asking the court to make a judgment if at all possible because the outcome can be hard to predict.
Are the children’s wishes taken into consideration?
Family courts now assume that both parents will be involved in their children’s upbringing but this isn’t a presumption that the children will spend equal time with both parents.
Having said that, when it comes to living arrangements, practical considerations will have a bearing. If parents are sorting out the arrangements between themselves we will urge them to think about what is best for their children.
If the court becomes involved in child arrangements, a court advisor will often talk to the children to see what their wishes and feelings are. This doesn’t mean a child will be asked to choose between parents. Family judges are well aware of the emotions involved in child arrangements cases and will want to build a full picture before making a decision that they believe is in the best interests of the child.
What if our circumstances change?
Life moves on and the arrangements made immediately after divorce may need to be renegotiated. One parent might want to move to a new area, their financial circumstances or health may alter or there could be decisions to make about the children’s education or care. Co-parenting is an ongoing process and as parents you will have to discuss all sorts of issues such as discipline, allowing a child to travel abroad with friends, making decisions about medical treatment or funding extra curricular activities.
As experts in this area, we specialise in providing legal advice to parents when issues such as these arise. We are experienced negotiators and can support parents in discussions with their ex spouse, helping them reach a decision that puts the child’s needs first.
For more information contact Andrew Meehan at Harrogate Family Law tel: 01423 594 680 or email email@example.com