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Divorce and separation: arrangements for children

A photo of Nicola Starbuck
10th November 2022

Separating from your spouse or partner can be a difficult time. This is especially the case if you have a child or children together. It is important to consider the impact on your child or children and how best to discuss the issues with them. For further information about how best to approach this, please read Rosie Lucas’ useful article.

Early expert legal advice is essential to help you consider the arrangements for your child or children, as this is likely to help avoid conflict. At Thomas Flavell & Sons, we understand that agreeing the arrangements may be difficult. We also know that certain occasions can cause unnecessary difficulties and upset (Christmas, special occasions and introduction to new partners).

More often than not, it will be in the child or children’s best interests if parents can agree the arrangements amicably and with a view to co-parenting. Mediation may be appropriate. If agreement can’t be reached, then it may be necessary to ask the court to determine issues.

Whilst court proceedings should always be a last resort, sometimes it is unavoidable. In those circumstances, the court may be asked to consider a range of issues relating to children including with which parent they should live or which school they attend. The main orders the court may be asked to make are:-

  • Child Arrangements Order (live with/spend time)
  • Prohibited Steps Order
  • Specific Issue Order

Disputes concerning children are governed by the Children Act 1989. The law provides that where a dispute arises, the child’s welfare shall be the paramount consideration. Each child is different and what is in a child’s best interests may vary from case to case. However, consideration will always be given to ‘the welfare checklist’, which includes:

  • the wishes and feeling of the child (age dependant);
  • the child’s physical, emotional and educational needs;
  • the impact on the child following any change to his/her circumstances; and
  • harm that the child has, or may have, suffered

By seeking early expert legal advice from Thomas Flavell & Sons, we can help you to avoid the pitfalls often associated with agreeing arrangements for a child or children after separation. Please contact our Family Team for your no-obligation fixed fee initial consultation. For Leicestershire call 01455 610747, for Warwickshire call 01926 887700.

We have offices in Hinckley, Leamington Spa and Stoney Stanton.