“What are we going to do about the Children?”
One of the things that many people agonize about, even when they are living in unhappy relationships, is the effect the separation will have on the children.
No one is easily going to be persuaded that separations are not difficult for children. It is equally the case that research tends to show that children live better with separated parents than with parents who are unhappily married. This is even more apparent when parents can separate in a civilized and helpful way and discuss the arrangements for their children sensibly.
This sounds obvious, but it is a goal that many parents find hard to achieve.
Where Will the Children Live?
Generally the Court prefer to keep the children in the home that they are used to, if possible. That can often mean a very difficult decision for one of the parents who will have to move out.
This can be tied up with the financial side of things and it is hard to look at this issue in isolation from the affordability of the household, following separation. It may be that the house will have to be sold but generally this is not a decision to take hurriedly.
What About Contact After Separation?
It is generally considered that children should still continue to be parented by both their parents following separation. For many fathers particularly this can have an impact on their work lives and is probably the reason why the majority of children live with their mothers rather than their fathers following separation; but this demographic is changing and is likely to continue to change as more and more fathers are willing to take a more active role in their children’s lives and with the increasing number of women with committed careers . The problem is particularly acute where either one or even both parents work irregular hours and this, as you can perhaps imagine, is a practical area and needs discussion, and where possible, agreement. An initial interview with a Solicitor can help you look at the possibilities but also mediation can be helpful in these kind of disputes, which is something that we would firmly recommend people to think about.
What About Safety Issues?
It is clear, unfortunately, that many marriages break down because of addiction to drugs, drink and similar substances. There could also be mental health issues. The safety of children can therefore impact quite substantially when these problems are present. It can of course be the case that while the parties are living in the same property, one parent can effectively prevent children coming into harm as a result of the behaviour of the other but upon separation the parent with “the problem” might not be fit to be alone with the children at the present time, ie to have unsupervised contact with the children .This is a complex and difficult area that needs careful advice and consideration. It can also be quite controversial because, unfortunately, many addicts minimise the effect of their addiction/problem and can utterly fail to see a safety issue that is obvious to everybody else. There are ways you can help with this such as supervised arrangements, contact centres, etc. but it does need careful thought.
There are solutions to all the above problems, even though they can sometimes seem overwhelming, particularly when you add financial difficulties and emotional problems as well. This is why having a very experienced Family Lawyer can be of invaluable help. For many people their first divorce or separation is their only divorce or separation but as experienced Lawyers have “gone through it” with their Clients many times and can give you a lot of piece of mind that things will work out and, whilst it may be a bumpy road on which it is hard to travel, there are answers that we can help you find.
Faye Remnant is part of our Family Law team based in Loughborough; our Solicitors in Loughborough are experts in their fields and dedicated to quality client care. If you would like to find out more about our solicitors in Loughborough please contact us.
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The information provided in all of our blogs reflects only a narrative of some elements to consider on the topic. The blogs do not contain considered legal advice and should not be relied upon as advice. Please see our website terms and conditions for full details of our disclaimer. If you are interested in obtaining advice, please contact one of our lawyers who will be happy and able to advise you on your own particular circumstances.