Divorce or separation often involves getting used to new child arrangements, which can be tricky for everyone involved. Assessing where your children should live and how much time should be spent with each parent can be difficult, especially in the early stages.

While organising child arrangements requires patience and commitment, that doesn’t mean you can’t make changes if they aren’t working. Most are informal agreements, so this is possible.

Perhaps you were unrealistic with your expectations, or your schedules are conflicting. Either way, it’s important to be adaptable for the sake of your child. Beyond this, your child needs to receive the financial support necessary. If you’re going through a divorce, it’s important to consult with divorce financial settlement solicitors to ensure you get the right money needed for child support, depending on your chosen arrangements.

Negotiate a new agreement

Ideally, you should speak with your ex-partner directly to come up with a new solution that works for everyone.

Remember to remain amicable with one another for the sake of reaching a resolution that focuses on your child’s welfare. It’s better to put any emotion aside – bitterness will only make the conversation less productive.

In your discussion, consider the best place for you or your ex-partner to see your child and whether you’d like someone else there for support. You have the option to use a child contact centre in your revised child arrangements if you’d prefer to avoid your ex-partner. This is a safe place where the child and any parents can meet. The staff will be able to help with handover arrangements, as well as supervised contact.

Consider mediation

Sometimes, a discussion won’t result in an answer. If you want to reach an agreement without going to court, mediation is a good alternative. It’s less expensive and less time-consuming. It’s worth checking whether you’re eligible for the Family Mediation Voucher Scheme.

You’ll work with a mediator who will guide the discussion and help you reach an agreement. Although the sessions are generally productive, it can be helpful to have an idea of what you’d like to get out of it. While mediators can’t give legal advice, they act as a neutral body that will listen to both points of view and provide practical steps to help you agree.

Legal negotiation

Legal negotiation may be a more suitable option if you don’t want to face your partner. This involves both parents appointing a solicitor to come up with a legally binding contract on their behalf. Family solicitors are trained to negotiate the best outcome for the child while considering the requests of the parent they’re representing.

Go to court

If you want to go to court, you need to prove that you’ve done all you can to make the arrangements work for the two of you. The court will need to know what the original agreement was and why it didn’t work. You’ll generally need to have attended a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM). Court should only ever be viewed as a last resort, except for domestic abuse cases.

The court will produce a child arrangements order that details who the child will live with and where. It will also determine when and how they see both parents, as well as who else the child can see.

If you need support from a specialist divorce financial settlement solicitor or any other legal experts in this field, contact a reputable family law firm today.

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