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Co-parenting is not straightforward but the children should always come first

19th October 2018

Last week we were given the delightful news that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are expecting their first baby. This exciting royal announcement followed soon after the Duke of York and Sarah Ferguson’s wonderful display of co-parenting at the recent nuptials of their youngest daughter – it was touching to observe their overwhelming pride and emotion as they stood shoulder-to-shoulder while their daughter Princess Eugenie exited St George’s Chapel in Windsor as a newly-married woman.

For many divorced couples, co-parenting is not straightforward. Legal professionals may always encourage non-court solutions as the best way to resolve disputes relating to children, but sometimes going to court is the only option.

When parents share parental responsibility for their children, disputes can arise over many issues – where a child should go to school, for example, which religion they should practise or where they should go on holiday. The court has a range of powers to make specific decisions or to prohibit certain courses of action.

The court can also determine where a child should live or the amount of time a child should spend with either parent or a specified person.

This type of ruling is known as a Child Arrangements Order. When considering making such an order, the court will always put the child’s welfare at the forefront of the decision, and any order must be made in the child’s best interests.

A child’s ascertainable feelings and wishes are also important considerations for the court. Obviously, it is important to take the child’s age into account, as well as their level of understanding and their ability to articulate their own wishes – although what a child wants may not always be in that child’s best interests. Generally speaking the court considers it to be appropriate for any child over the age of 10 to be consulted about the arrangements being made for them.

Parents should remember that children will often say or do what they think a parent wants them to do or say. It is extremely important that parents do not place expectations on their children or pressure them in this respect – qualified legal mediators are trained to consult directly with children.

For more information about family law, the court process, and non-court options such as mediation, or for legal advice and support through a divorce or separation, get in touch with George Ide’s specialist team on 01243 786668 or email us at info@georgeide.co.uk.

Tina Day. Chartered Legal Executive, Accredited Mediator & Head of Divorce & Family Law

Family Law, General, George Ide, News
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