Today, 20 November, marks World Children’s Day, established by UNICEF. World Children’s Day marks the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which founded the principle that in all decisions concerning children, the child’s best interests shall be a primary consideration.
In the case of divorce or separation, the well-being of any children should always be the top priority. Still, this can become complex when considering child arrangements, including who the child should live with, and parents may have different views regarding their child’s best interests.
Parents are encouraged to reach an agreement without issuing court proceedings wherever possible and appropriate. If an agreement cannot be reached, either parent can apply to the court for a judge to decide what is in the child’s best interests. But before issuing court proceedings, parents should consider other ways to reach a resolution, usually quicker, more cost-effective and more amicable.
A mediator is a neutral expert who facilitates discussion between parents and supports them in reaching agreed arrangements. Arrangements for the children can be tried and tested between mediation sessions to allow the parents to assess the workability of the situation. Third parties such as child psychologists, independent social workers and therapists can also be engaged. Any agreement made in mediation will be recorded in a memorandum of understanding. Another option is for parents to instruct solicitors to act in a collaborative forum, whereby each parent appoints their own collaboratively trained lawyer and all four meet to work out arrangements face to face, with legal support, whilst committing not to issue court proceedings. Alternatively, the solicitors can help more traditionally, with most negotiations being between solicitors, without issuing court proceedings.
The theme of World Children’s Day is to honour and appreciate children whilst promoting their rights and welfare. This holds true in all aspects of family law. When parents separate, however, a resolution is reached, the child’s best interests are paramount, and all parties keeping this as a guiding light helps to provide stability and certainty for the child.
If you have any questions about child arrangements, contact our Family law team today for a consultation. We will support you through this. Call us on 01202 786105 or email us directly at Joanna.Kay@la-law.com.