Child Arrangements

When we provide mediation for separation and divorce, we also take the welfare of the whole family into account. Children who are caught in the middle of battling parents can be adversely affected. We therefore, seek to ensure that discussion takes place about the childcare arrangements in the hope that solutions can be reached between you both and that these are then set out in an agreement such as a parenting agreement.

If you cannot agree on the child Arrangements you will come under the Child Arrangements Programme. This programme, introduced in 2014, removes the terms ‘custody’ and ‘access’ and replaces them with a ‘Child Arrangement Order.' It is designed to assist families to reach safe and child-focused agreements for their child, where possible outside the court setting. If parents/families are unable to reach an agreement, and a court application is made, the Child Arrangement Programme encourages swift resolution of the dispute through the Court.

The Role of Mediation in a child care Arrangement Dispute.

If you are unable to agree on living arrangements for your children, the court will ask you both to attend a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) to see if mediation will help you reach an agreement. Mediation is a highly successful service and is recommended by the court as the most effective method of resolving disputes. There are many benefits such as the cost of mediation is a fraction of the cost of using solicitors or going to court. Mediation is fast, effective and less stressful then using solicitors or attending court.

There are situations where couples are exempt from attending a MIAM, for example, if there is a history of violence and/or abuse in the relationship.

During mediation, it is important for the welfare of your children to work with the Mediator to decide:

• where will the children primarily reside?

• how, when and where the parent with whom the children will not primarily reside, will see them

• how they will be supported financially

• where they will spend school holidays

• who will pay for school fees (if applicable)

Mediation has proven to be an effective process, allowing many couples to work out arrangements for their children between themselves, without the stress and expense of having to go to court.

We fully believe that in cases of separation and divorce, the child’s welfare is paramount and the voice of the child is important. By dealing with cases sensitively and professionally. Where possible we help parties reach agreement at mediation. The arrangements will not only meet the needs of the children but also provide both parents with the means to adjust to their new situation, without undue disturbance. Normally we succeed in achieving this through mediation. But sometimes parties cannot or should not (due to factors such as domestic violence) reach agreement through these methods, and litigation is inevitable.

If this is the case we help you understand the next stage, which is to apply to court for a Child Arrangements Order. A Child Arrangement Order may include restrictions on your child being removed from the UK if you are concerned that your partner may try and abduct them. If there has been a history of violence and/or abuse in the relationship, the Child Arrangement Order may make provisions for any contact to be made under the supervision of a third party. There are lots of options which we can discuss with you.

Contact us for m ore information 0800 612 4614