Children Disputes: Can you make arrangements away from the Court?
The President of the Family Division has said that Courts should be a last resort for parents at war. At the moment, the Court is seeing an unprecedented rise in demand for separating couples asking Judges to determine issues about their children’s care. About 40% of those who have separated have made Applications to Court.
Sir Andrew McFarlane who is the President of the Family Division has said that parents should exercise parental responsibility and try sorting problems out themselves.
As a family lawyer, I appreciate it is sometimes very difficult to get the other parent to have sensible discussions. When you were together, there was give and take on both sides, and this has to continue when you are separated.
It is a really difficult thing to put aside emotional issues to focus on what is best for the children, but the children will certainly thank you for it in the long run.
As a mediator, I often work with separating couples to try and make arrangements away from the Court for the children. The benefit of mediation is that it is the parents who make the decisions with the assistance of a mediator who is impartial and independent and does not try and take sides but tries to assist the parents in reaching an agreement. Both parents are expected to compromise and that is very much the key to these arrangements. It has been found that parents who attend mediation are more able to resolve disputes between the two of them in the future.
No one is saying that disagreements will not happen, it is how best to resolve them and leaving it to a Judge can mean you do not particularly like the outcome.