If you have children, and your relationship breaks down, you will want to ensure that their physical and emotional well-being comes first. Our experienced team of family law solicitors can advise on private childcare arrangements.

If you have children, and your relationship breaks down, you will want to ensure that their physical and emotional well-being comes first. The first challenge can be deciding on your private childcare arrangements.

When parents separate, it can be difficult for both parties to reach amicable decisions about the care and well-being of their child or children. Children will also find the process difficult.  Although you might be angry with the other parents, accepting that they are a parent too and have an important role in the life of your children and that they want the best for them too, can help you to navigate through the tricky time.

Our private childcare arrangements service

At Anthony Collins Solicitors, our family law team believe that in most instances parents are the best people to make decisions about their children, but we understand this can be difficult when communication has broken down between parents and emotions are affecting their decisions. Children will benefit if both parents can find common ground and decide on parenting plans, and how they will successfully co-parent.

There isn’t one rule for how to manage childcare arrangements after separation or divorce; parents manage their arrangement in different ways depending on their situations. Some arrangements see children splitting their time equally between each parent; others mean children spend less time with one parent than the other.

When considering childcare arrangements, involve your child or children in the decision making, so you know what they want, but keep them out of any adult discussions or arguments. Remember that it’s not about you and your partner; you need to put the best interests of your children first. Keep your children up to date with the plans and manage their expectations, which will make things easier for you. Typical types of private childcare arrangements include:

  • Where the child/ren will live;
  • The time a child/ren will spend with each parent;
  • What school the child/ren will attend;
  • Decisions about medical procedures;
  •  A parent asking for additional financial support;
  • Issues that impact on the child’s or children’s day-to-day life; and
  • Taking the child/ren out of the country.

When considering these situations, try to focus on the needs of your children, and not on your rights as a parent. Consider the relationship you have with your ex-partner. Instead of an emotional one, think about building more of a business-like relationship when making childcare arrangements – something with which our family mediators can help.

We work with parents to try and reach an agreement about private childcare arrangements through negotiation and mediation, before going through the courts.

If you can reach an amicable agreement, then write it down and ensure all parties have access. If you can’t agree, you should seek professional guidance. We work with parents to try and reach an agreement about private childcare arrangements through negotiation and mediation, before going through the courts. Mediation is a voluntary and confidential process in which an independent and impartial mediator will assist both parties to reach a workable outcome and avoid the need for costly and lengthy court proceedings. You should consider, and ideally attempt, mediation as a way of resolving issues before going to court. If court becomes necessary, we work with parents through the court process to achieve a child-focused outcome.

Our large family law team has a vast amount of knowledge in private childcare arrangements and extensive experience in working with parents and those with an interest in the physical and emotional well-being of the child or children. This ensures that the child’s best interests are taken into account and achieving a successful outcome.

It isn’t just parents who need support around separation. Grandparents and extended family members might also seek contact with a child or children; they might also want consideration as guardians. If you have a family member going through a separation, as difficult and emotional as the situation is, try and stay neutral so that the ex-partner doesn’t see you in a negative light.  Try and talk to the parents and explain how you feel and demonstrate flexibility on how and when you see the children. Think about ways you could offer to make life easier for the parents that would enable you to spend time with the children, such as school pick-ups.

If informal arrangements don’t work, you don’t have automatic legal rights to see your grandchildren, but we can help you try to reach an agreement through mediation. If mediation doesn’t work, you can apply to the court for a child arrangement order, but you will need to ask permission of the court before applying.

As one of the West Midlands most successful and respected law firms, our solicitors are passionate about delivering expert legal advice to support you to achieve a successful resolution to your legal issue. Our advice is practical, clear, and we work with our clients to guide them through every step of the legal process. Our experienced teams have the knowledge, experience and sensitivity to assist individuals and their families through periods of uncertainty and difficulty.

If you would like further information about private childcare arrangements or how our family law team can help you, please get in touch.

Just like to say thank you for all your help over the past year, you have been exceptional. You have taken a lot of the stress away and made the whole process a lot more bearable with your help.
FAQs
  • Are courts obliged to enforce parenting plans?

    Parenting plans are an effective dispute avoidance tool that is encouraged by the Family Court, particularly at a time where the latest statistics tell us that 36% of all parties in private law family cases are unrepresented.

    Despite allegations of aged old paternalism, courts are increasingly turning to empowerment of the litigants to reach an agreement themselves, reducing the need for costly and time-consuming final hearings. In my experience, parties are unlikely to reach an agreement without prompting from their solicitors.

    A parenting plan is a menu of conversation prompts that enables parents to discuss all aspects of their children’s’ lives, both current and future, and can be disclosed to the court in the event of a dispute. It is designed to pre-empt disagreement and multiple court applications on everything from schooling to the introduction of new partners. A helpful leaflet and template is provided by Cafcass (Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service); you can find out more about parenting plans here.

BBC's Come Home and family breakdown
BBC's Come Home and family breakdown

I have just finished watching the lovely Christopher Eccleston on BBC iPlayer’s Come Home (#spoileralert in case you haven’t seen it yet). It’s about a family where, rather unusually, the mother leaves the marriage, her home and most shockingly, her children.

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