Deciding to separate from your partner can be one of the most difficult times in your life, especially when there’s kids involved. Many parents struggle to tell their little ones the decision for fear of hurting them and the effect this will have on them. But another big worry that comes in to play during a separation is custody. Who will have sole custody of the kids? How long will they stay at each house? Who has them at Christmas, New Year and birthdays? Sometimes parents just can’t seem to agree on custody plans and this can create a tense relationship. When talking to your divorce solicitors it is often worthwhile talking about custody to get the best advice on where to go forward.
Mediation can be a great way to resolve issues between parents and help you both come to a unanimous and fair custody decision. Talking to an impartial party can often encourage parents to see the situation from the other parent’s point of view. They are skilled professionals who have dealt with several family scenarios and problems.
When preparing for a mediation consultation it will be helpful for you to write a personal guide of your lifestyle, as well as a list of your concerns. They will get to know both you and your ex-partner in order to ensure the decision fits both of your lives, as well as the needs of your children.
Where possible the courts will advise that parents agree custody issues between themselves, but when discussions lead to arguments this is sometimes not a viable option for parents. When other options have not worked out it is time to look at getting a court order, where a final decision on custody plans is made by a judge. It is always best to get advice from reputable solicitors, who specialise in family law that will be able to advise you on your case.
Court can sound like a dramatic option but this can be the best solution if custody issues have been dragging out for months with no resolution in sight. When you decide to arrange custody through the courts you will be advised to attend mediation sessions with a mediation agency. If this is not an option or has already been pursued you can then make an application to the court. The courts will always try to make an agreement that is fair and something that everyone is happy with.
Ask the Kids
If your children are old enough to make informed decisions it may be worth asking them what living arrangement they would be comfortable with. Long term issues can arise if children are forced to go along with plans that may not necessarily be the best for them. As children grow up and reach adolescence they begin to gain a more active social life and will want to make their own decisions. Make sure you always check with your children about their living arrangements to make sure they are still happy with them.
It is always essential to consider that whatever route you decide to take in resolving custody issues that your children are happy.