Arrangements for Children
Divorce doesn’t just affect the two people whose marriage is at an end. Minimising the effect of their relationship breakdown on their children is often a couple’s first concern.
When you divorce, you and your spouse need to come to an agreement about where your children will live and how much time they are going to spend with each parent.
You may have heard child custody mentioned in media or heard discussions of access arrangements relating to children after a divorce. The terms “custody” and “access” in family law have been replaced over the years with various other terms are now encompassed in the term “child arrangements”.
If you can’t agree where your children will live and how often they will stay with each parent, you can apply to the Family Court for a decision.
The Family Court can then make “Child arrangements Orders”. The terms of these orders can be agreed during the Court process, or can be imposed on parents by a Judge if agreement can not be reached during the Court process.
Wherever possible, parents should try and work together to agree future arrangements for their children, but this is often difficult after an acrimonious divorce or separation. Keep in mind that it is far better for parents to agree than a Judge making the decisions for them.
If you can reach an agreement, the arrangements can be detailed in a Parenting Plan for both parents to sign. A professional Family Mediator can also help parents agree the future arrangements for their children.
Where parties can not agree through other means, Court proceedings may be required. Many parents manage to agree the arrangements for their children during the Court process, without the need for a Judge to impose an arrangement on them.