Dealing with child arrangements for separated parents
The school summer holidays are in full swing and the children will be returning to school in a few weeks. Along with organising uniform, PE kits and stationery for the start of the new school term, for separated parents, child arrangements may need organising aswell. This is to arrange the specific time that their child/children may spend with each of them during term time and the upcoming school holidays, such as October half term.
In my experience as a family law solicitor and mediator, the start of a new school term can also be a time for review and reflection. Separated parents who already have arrangements in place may wish to review these as part of considering their child’s needs as they change and grow. There may be a big change taking place in a child’s life which prompts a review of how child arrangements are going to work, such as a child starting primary school or for older children transitioning to secondary school.
Problems are best solved when people can sit down and talk about them. However, that is often easier said than done for separated parents. Understandably, there can be disagreements and conversations can become emotive. This is where Mediation comes in and where it can really help. A Mediator is a family law professional who is trained to help people discuss and talk things through, with a view to agreeing proposals and arrangements for the future. As well as helping separated parents, Mediators can also help people who have decided to separate, end a civil partnership or divorce in dealing with financial matters too.
The advantages of Mediation are:
- Time, speed, convenience, – Mediation is a voluntary and flexible process, so if Mediation is suitable, joint sessions can take place quickly, arranged around availability and timescales. Likewise, if people wish to deal matters at a steadier pace – they can set the timelines that work for them. Mediation can take place in person or by video – whatever works best.
- Improving communication – Court proceedings, by their very nature, can sadly, often worsen communication and potentially decrease trust too. In contrast, Mediation can help improve communication and for separated parents, improving communication with each other will in turn benefit their child/children. The Mediator will help focus parents on the best interests of their child/children.
- Bespoke and tailored – the individuals set the agenda for Mediation sessions, meaning they can take the time to prioritise and discuss the matters that are important to their individual family circumstances. This is in contrast to the Court process as the Court’s time is limited and so the Court may not be able to review matters in the level of detail that people wish.
- Cost – Mediation sessions are significantly cheaper than the legal costs/legal representation associated with Court proceedings.
- Decisions – The choices and decisions at Mediation are made by the individuals – the Mediator will not tell the individuals what to do or impose an outcome on them. The Mediator will use their professional skills and work hard to help the individuals discuss matters and reach solutions and proposals.
- Less stressful – often, people find Mediation significantly less stressful than going to Court. The Mediator uses their professional skills to help the individuals discuss, try to find solutions and work out arrangements.
If you would like to find out more about Mediation and how it might help, please do not hesitate to contact our Mediator, Honor Giles, on 01565 743 302 or email@example.com Honor is always happy to have an initial chat to provide further information about Mediation.
Please also see Honor’s detailed blog about the Mediation process, what it involves and how it works.