Unfortunately, it’s not unusual for the relationship with an ex-spouse to be strained. Emotions run high and negotiations, whether to do with child contact arrangements or the financial settlement, can often be made more difficult by the distress which frequently surrounds the end of a marriage.
It may sound obvious but in the turmoil that generally follows the end of a relationship, it is easy to see contact with a child as something to which you should be ‘entitled’.
Instead, the focus should be placed upon what is in the best interests of the child (or children) involved.
If possible, sit down with your spouse and discuss child contact, in order to try to come up with an amicable agreement between yourselves. Mediation, where an independent third party is there to aid discussions, can also help some people to plan their child arrangements.
Your working hours should inform any discussions involving contact with your child.
Again, it may sound obvious but there is no point agreeing to contact with a young child every Wednesday evening, for example, if you know that you are likely to be at work until 8pm. Not only will this mean that contact with your child will be limited (as they may need to be put to bed shortly after you return from work) but this could disrupt your child’s evening routine and affect their welfare.
Focus on arranging contact with your child when you know you will be able to spend quality time with them.
School holidays are a great opportunity to spend quality time with your child.
When discussing contact with your child to take place during their school holidays, consider how much time you would realistically be able to spend with them.
For example, there is no point saying that you want to arrange contact for their entire Easter holidays and 4 weeks of their summer holidays, if you will not be able to get all of this time off work to be with your child.
If you and your spouse are unable to agree about child arrangements, it is possible to go to court to apply for a child arrangements order.
A family solicitor can provide you with advice on how to go about this.
It’s not unusual for emotions to run high when discussing child arrangements. Focusing on the practical issues can help you and your spouse to reach an agreement that will work for both of you and is in the best interests of the child.
Putting the practical issues and your child’s welfare at the centre of your discussions, can help to ensure that you do not encounter any problems with the agreement you have made, in the future.
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