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5 steps to make child arrangements less painful, especially for the kids!

View profile for Nameeta Gujral
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Relationship breakdown can be difficult and highly emotional experience. However it can be ten times worse if there are children involved.

Every situation will be different and depend on the unique circumstances of the family unit. Whatever happens, it is imperative that the children are protected from any animosity between the parents. No matter how acrimonious the break up, making the process as stress free as possible for the children should be everyone’s concern. It will certainly be the Family Court’s number one priority above everything else, so it is in everyone’s interest to keep any children proceedings as calm and as smooth as possible. Here is our five-point guide on how you can get the best outcome for your children.

#1 – Keep the lines of communication open.

In any discussion keeping the lines of communication open are essential. The worst thing that can happen for everyone involved is for talks to break down. Not only does it increase the tension between the parties (which the children will immediately pick up on), but it also has a knock-on effect for any arrangements. The best solution for everyone is to resolve any issues as quickly as possible, so that the children can retain a degree of stability in their lives.

#2 – Protect your children from any animosity.

Despite the issues between you and your ex partner/spouse, your children are both your responsibilities, so it is up to you to protect them from any issues between you. However, do not try and pretend that change is not happening. Children are far more astute than they are often given credit for and will know that mum and dad are having problems. Do not lie to them, and certainly do not try and turn your children against your former partner. The UK family courts will not take kindly to reports of manipulating the feelings of children, regardless of how messy the separation is.

#3 – Get mediators on the case.

If you cannot talk to one another without it ending in a shouting match, then ask mediators to step in. Family mediators are highly experienced at acting as go-betweens and will also have experience in dealing with child arrangement disputes, too. Talk to your solicitor if you want to try and organise some mediation before making an application to the court.

#4 – Always keep your children’s welfare at the centre of any decision.

It is easy to start thinking only of your own situation in a complicated divorce or separation, but it’s important to remember that there are other people affected by the events too. It is time to put your own personal feelings aside and keep your children’s welfare at the centre of every decision. If you are not comfortable with attending mediation, consider Collaborative Law. This is a process where you and your former partner, with the assistance of a collaborative solicitor seek to find solutions to the issues in a structured way promoting the best interests of the children. Negotiations are carried out in a dignified and respectful manner.

#5 – Think about the future

Child arrangements need to be flexible so that the children spend as much time as possible with both parents. So that means you have to be relatively flexible too, not just immediately, but in the future as well. Things like schools, health provision, and even access to other family members such as grandparents are all part of the solution and can be of great support. Child arrangement cases can be emotionally draining and challenging, so make sure you have a solicitor you can rely on, and whom you feel comfortable with to help you through the process.

If you would like to talk to someone regarding any of the issues raised our team at Martin Tolhurst Solicitors are experienced at dealing with such issues.

To arrange your initial consultation, get in touch with our New Enquiries Team on 01474 546013 or email


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