Whether you have just decided to separate or have been separated for some time, you and the other parent obviously need to think about and agree on arrangements about the children. Many children worry about what will happen to them when their parents split up, and it can be a big relief to them if the arrangements become clear and predictable.
How do I make a parenting agreement?
A parenting agreement is an arrangement that separated parents make about how their children will be cared for and supported. One of the things about coming to a parenting agreement that many parents are particularly worried about, is working out where their children will live and how much time each child will spend with whom.
There are usually strong emotions around this topic for parents, these strong feelings can lead people to act in ways that they might not usually act, or may not even agree with. Some parents can get focused on who will ‘win’, they may have long debates about where children live and how much time each parent should get. Arguments between the parents can continue for long periods without a resolution.
Before getting caught up in conflicts about what is fair and unfair for each parent, you could get ready to make a parenting plan by focusing your thinking on what will be best for your children.
What actually are my parental responsibilities?
- Consider your children’s needs as a priority and make arrangements for your children that are in their best interests.
- Protect your children from physical or psychological harm or the risk of harm.
- Encourage your children to talk to and see the other parent regularly, unless this would place your children at risk of harm.
- Not say or do things that stop your children communicating with the other parent, or Â that might harm their relationship with the other parent.
- Encourage and assist your children to enjoy their culture.
- Maintain your children financially.
- In most cases, participate in major long-term decisions about your children.
How a Solicitor can help you to reach an agreement
Not all separated parents are able to agree on parenting arrangements, or the agreements they have made are not kept. The highly charged emotional nature of the decision making in regard to the children can cause massive stress, especially if arguments have become aggressive and unreasonable. Â In some cases it may not be safe to try to reach agreement, or there may be other difficulties or urgency that prevents parents from agreeing to arrangements. If this applies to you, you may need to go to court. A Family law Solicitor is an expert in this field, they can advise you on your rights as a parent and the family court system. They will guide you through the legal process and how it relates to your families circumstances.
If you go on to court, the court will have to consider the terms of the most recent parenting arrangements and make a parenting order in relation to your children, if they believe that is in the best interests of your children. A Solicitor will be on hand to give you the advice and support you will need while going to court.
What Should You Do Now?