Nobody wants to think when they say, “I do”, on their wedding day that it might not be forever. Yet sadly, 42% of couples will go their separate ways at some point in the future. Divorce can be especially difficult on any innocent parties involved, especially children.
When you have children, regardless of whether you are beginning the divorce process or you and your partner have recently separated, the primary concern will be to ensure you can work out what’s best for them.
You’ll want the divorce to be as least disruptive as possible. Especially when arranging terms on who gets to see them and when.
This post will take you through what you need to consider when making arrangements for your children.
The best, least stressful solution and also what happens in a worst case scenario.
What Should You Consider When Making Arrangements For Your Children During Divorce?
In the first instance, it will be the short term you will want to sort.
The children’s safety, education and avoiding disruption should be the primary concern here.
However, as things settle somewhat after you have broken up, you need to look at what’s going to happen in the future.
You need to consider:
- Where your children are going to live and who with
- When, where and how long your children will see each parent
- If it is possible or even right for them to continue going to their current school
- Who is going to take them to and pick them up from school
- What will happen during the holidays
- The affect your working hours will have on the availability to spend time with your children
- If both you and your partner will be able to take your children for their holiday
Divorce: An Amicable Solution Is Always Best
The solution to the above will depend on the agreements you come to with your partner. Also, considering your own unique situation.
For the father, a lot will be based on if they are awarded parental responsibility. Allowing them to be involved in making decisions about the day to day upbringing of the children.
Generally, the most positive outcomes for children involved in divorce are when couples have come to agreements on their own. This is instead of the courts being involved.
It usually carries the least stress. The cost of divorce is reduced and the emotional burden on every party involved is greatly lessened. Especially for your children.
What happens when you can’t come to an agreement? It may be time to apply for a child arrangement order.
Child Arrangement Orders (Formerly Child Residence Orders)
Child Arrangement Orders is the name used for what were once called Child Residence Orders throughout England and Wales.
It is important to note that family courts involved in the decisions regarding Child Arrangement Orders function on a ‘no order principle’.
This basically means an order will not be made – whether it’s about residence or another matter concerning children – without just cause.
Therefore, you are only going to get a successful Child Arrangement Order if you can prove you have good reason.
The courts understand that coming to an amicable agreement yourselves is always the best option for your kids.
They should only be used as a last resort if absolutely necessary.
If You Still Need To Go To Court…
You need to apply for one of these legal arrangements through the court as outlined in the Children’s Act.
When you apply, you need to give evidence you have been attending a special meeting referred to as a mediation information and assessment meeting or MIAM for short and can prove that this mediation meeting didn’t help resolve the problems you were having.
There are some specific circumstances where it is not necessary for you to attend one before you apply. For example, if the Local Authority is involved in incidents connected to your family, or if there has been cases of domestic violence or abuse.
How Much Does A Child Arrangement Order Cost?
Following completion of the MIAM, you are then required to pay £215 and complete a C100 form.
The family court will then make the arrangements for a CAFCASS or court social worker to have an appointment with both you and your ex-partner and then the CAFCASS will file their report with the court.
What Happens Next In The Divorce Proceedings?
A first hearing will be ordered through the court and both you and your former spouse will be expected to attend and speak with the presiding judge.
Before a decision is made about whether the order will be granted or not, the court will hold a number of hearings.
It may be a good idea to seek out the professional help of a solicitor trained in this area of the law.
Ultimately, one of the most important things you’ll want to take care of during and after a divorce, are your children.
The best way to do that is to avoid conflict with your partner.
This way, you and the most important people in your life come out of the process with the least negative impact possible.
If that’s not possible, the court system will be the way to go.