Almost without exception, separated parents need to adapt the care arrangements for their children as their children’s needs change over time. It is common for the care arrangements for babies and toddlers to be reviewed regularly as their needs change relatively frequently over the first few years of their lives. Arrangements often need to be reviewed when young children start school and as they get older when they begin to become more independent. No arrangement, from an informal verbal agreement to an arrangement set out in a court order, is set in stone. If you believe that the existing care arrangements are no longer suitable for your children the first thing you should do is raise this with your former partner. It may be that they agree that the current arrangement is not working and you are able to agree on a new arrangement between yourselves. One parent should not change the arrangements without the other parent’s agreement or a court order. If they are not prepared to discuss matters, or you are unable to come to an agreement, we suggest you seek legal advice.
Your solicitor will discuss the various options available to you. Often you will be advised to consider attending mediation, which involves an independent third party attempting to facilitate an agreement. Where cases are unsuitable for mediation, or parents are unable to come to an agreement at mediation, it may be necessary to issue a court application.
If you are interested in discussing child contact issues please contact Ella L. J. Bernhard