Most parents are able to reach agreements in relation to child access between themselves.
This task is even more difficult where the parents are not on good terms following a separation or divorce. Nevertheless, most child access matters can still be resolved amicably without the need for court intervention. This could often lead to a quick result and is also a cost-effective method for reaching a solution. The below tips have been compiled from experience in dealing with child access cases and can be used as a guide to help you resolve your child access.
Prepare for your conversation with the other parent
Carefully compile a list of what arrangements can be agreed and what aspects of child access need to be discussed. Careful planning allows you time to understand exactly what issues are in dispute so you can target these in your conversation with the other parent. Ensure you pick a neutral time and place to discuss these issues with your former partner to try and reach a solution. Prior to your conversation with the other parent you need to think about what compromises you can make to achieve the desired outcome. You must be prepared that the discussion might not go down well with the other parent.
You must ensure that when you are trying to amicably resolve child access matters you keep control over your feelings and emotions. Disagreements and arguments may arise, but you need to maintain calm and keep your calm, as these discussions can quite easily turn messy. Hostile discussions could affect the way in child access matters are resolved whereas a productive discussion may result in an outcome you desire.
Parents need to try and understand the concerns raised by the other parent. It is therefore essential that you carefully listen to what is said and respond to that. Understanding the concerns and feelings of the other parent can help you both work together to ensure your child has a good relationship with both parents.
Focus on your child’s needs
According to Kabir family law, often, separating parents get caught up in their emotions and feelings against one another. The key decision you are making concerns to your children so ensure their needs are placed before yours. It is helpful to try and work around your children so as the least disruption as possible is caused to them. Remember they are already in the difficult position of their parents separating and they don’t need more distractions. When focusing on your child’s need it is helpful to consider:
- The age of the child. Children at different ages have different needs. You need to address these needs and be in a position to prove that you will be able to cater for your child by having child access.
- The wishes and feelings of your children. The older the children are the more likely they are to express their wishes. Parents need to consider that these wishes of a child are taken into consideration when considering child access.
- The likely effect on your child of any changes. This is an important factor to consider when looking at child access. The courts will only grant child access where a change in circumstances is not likely to affect a child significantly.
- Where your child goes to school and any extracurricular activities. Child access for children who are studying is likely to place after school hours. Parents need to consider whether child access will affect the child’s school or extracurricular activities and if so, how they can cater for such changes.
Be as open and honest as possible
It is important that if you are unable to agree any aspect of your child access you provide open, honest and clear reasons for your opinion and the options you have provided. If you have valid reasons for requiring child access to suit your needs, then you need to advise your former partner from the outset, so this gives them time to consider this and try and work around your commitments. Child access can often work easily where both parents are prepared to discuss any issues between them at the earliest convenience and are able to work together to try and reach solutions.
Take one step at a time
Family solicitors have noted that parents often want to agree on all disputed issues at once which could add to further problems. Parents should ensure they carefully agree on the easier aspects first before tackling difficult issues. If child access is the most important issue, then parents need to ensure this is addressed primarily. Parents are advised to create a list that can be referred to when resolving child access issues. The list should contain the issues which need to be considered and should be listed in order of importance. This will allow parents to productively discuss each issue at a time with a view to amicably resolving child access.
However, where this is not possible parents may want to seek advice from a solicitor as these matters may be capable of being resolved without the need for court involvement.
Be practical when considering the time your child will spend with each parent
Parents should have realistic and practical expectations when deciding on the time your child will spend with each parent. Parents need to consider the day to day issues that are different for each family.
It is important to consider how your child will get to and from school or childcare? Does each of the children have different needs that require different arrangements? If so, ensure you take this into account when resolving child access disputes.
Parents will also need to consider if there is enough space for children to sleepover when they have child access. This is incredibly important given that following a separation one or both parents may be moving out of the marital home.
Parents should also carefully consider the child’s needs for their day to day living and how each parent is able to cater to them as well as considering issues surrounding transport for child access purposes and who will be responsible for making the relevant arrangements for the children.
As mentioned earlier parents are often able to practically resolve any child access issues between them by carefully thinking through the options and proposing many options of how and when the child can spend time with you. Where child access issues cannot be resolved amicably then parents may need to proceed through the family court. Whether you are looking to settle your family matter in or out of court the tips mention above should assist you in achieving child access.