There may be situations where you need more help on agreeing how to make or change child arrangements after a separation. Try using mediation or other methods to resolve the issue out of court.
GET HELP AGREEING: A mediator is a service where you can get help to make joint decisions on things that are important to you.
Mediators have specialist training in dealing with irretrievable relationships and child upbringing. They do not take sides.
Using mediation is not the same as getting relationship counselling. But it can help ex-partners agree on how take care of their children, such as:
You can find a local mediator by searching the Family Mediation Council (FMC). You would be able to register for a family mediator who practises near to where you live.
In some cases, you can get legal aid for mediation. In others, the mediator may send your case to a court instead (e.g. situations that involve domestic abuse).
Note: Agreements made through mediation services are not 'legally' binding. But, you can get a solicitor to draft a consent order. If a court approves, it would then become legal and binding.
There is a government guide to help you make or change child arrangements with the other parent. It may be useful if you need to decide where the children will live or rearrange the times they can visit you.
Besides using mediation, there are several other options available if you need more help agreeing. You should be able to:
It is not uncommon to reach some agreement on child arrangements, but fail to agree on everything else. In this case, you can ask a court to make a decision on the things you have yet to agree on.
But, before applying to court, you need to show that you attended a meeting to see whether mediation is right for you. Certain cases do not require you to attend a Mediation Information Assessment Meeting (MIAM).
Typical examples include separation cases that involve domestic abuse or where the social services are involved.
Get Expert Help to Make Child Arrangements When a Relationship Ends