Going through a separation or divorce is a sensitive and upsetting situation in a person’s life, particularly for any young people involved. While divorcing or separating will bring with it many changes, organising child custody arrangements should be a priority so as to ensure the welfare of any child involved.
Once the relationship ends, you will need to agree where your children will live as well as how much time they will spend with each of you. Child arrangements are usually informal and don’t require attendance in court unless there has been a history of abuse in your relationship or you can’t reach an agreement.
Deciding Where Your Child Will Live
Firstly, you will need to decide where your children will stay. They may live with one parent most of the time and stay with the other at the weekends or spend alternative weeks in each parent’s house. When deciding where they will stay, you should consider:
- Who has the most time available to care for your children? It is also important to consider which days work best for each parent so as they can spend quality time with the kids.
- Where your children go to school and what after school clubs they may attend. It may not be best for them to stay far away from their school during the week.
- What may happen in the future for example, they might change schools and so, it is important that they can easily get there.
Will I Need to Pay Child Maintenance?
The amount of child maintenance you will need to pay will depend on the amount of time your children stay with you. If they don’t live with you at all, then usually you will have to pay more towards child maintenance. Alternatively, if they spend a night or two at your house, then you will often pay less maintenance.
Keeping In Touch With Your Children and Ex-Partner
It is vital to consider how you will keep in touch with your children while they are staying with your ex-partner. If you have moved to a new house and it’s difficult for them to visit you, you could meet them at a relative’s house. Alternatively, if you move away, you will need to agree how you will keep in contact, such as asking your ex-partner to split travel costs or meet you somewhere with the children. You should also agree how you and your partner will get in touch with each other in case of an emergency. If you don’t want to talk, you could choose to email, text or communicate via a friend or relative.
Get Your Agreement in Writing
Once you both have agreed on the arrangements for your children, you should write it down for future reference. This will be particularly useful if you can’t remember what you have agreed or if something isn’t working. You can make your own document or use a template online, either way make sure you and your ex-partner both have a copy.
Need Help Planning Child Arrangements?
In some circumstances, you may find that you need help agreeing child arrangements. If this is the case, you may want to enlist the help of a solicitor who will act as a mediator to help you reach an agreement together. If you find that your current agreement isn’t working, solicitors such as H McPartland & Sons can also provide advice and support on how to fix this. We will attempt to resolve the situation informally, however if you have tried and failed, we will assist and support you if you need to go to court.
At H McPartland & Sons, it is our priority to ensure the welfare of any child involved and we will provide expert advice on the best way to resolve issues that may arise. Contact us today and talk to one of our family law experts, who will ensure your child arrangements are handled both professionally and sensitively.