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Clarke & Son Blog​

Summer Holidays – Sun, Sea and Stress


It’s exam season again in schools across the nation and that can only mean one thing…Summer holidays are coming! Yes, it’s that time where parents are getting plans in place for trips abroad, to holiday parks and everywhere in-between. However, for many parents this is also a time of great stress, and for those that are separated, they will be trying to juggle work with childcare and liaising with the other parent who is potentially not willing to assist, or is asking for changes in their arrangements for the children splitting their time between them.

As with anything, forward planning well in advance is essential. For some parents they will be able to make arrangements without too much difficulty, and apart from an emergency, or unavoidable last-minute change of plan, their arrangements will remain as anticipated by them both.

The thing to bear in mind with any informal agreement is that it can be changed and sometimes for no good reason, other than being for the other parent’s convenience. If as a separated parent you fall into this group where it is very difficult to make plans of any nature, no matter how much planning you try to put in place, then there are other methods for having arrangements confirmed which can be explored, in light of the fact that someone independent of you may have a better chance of persuading your ex that what is being proposed is reasonable and in the best interests of your child / children.

It is now a mandatory requirement, excluding certain criteria, that any person who might need to consider applying to the Court in respect of a children matter attempt to resolve their disputes via mediation. The process of mediation is that it allows for an independent third party, the mediator, to help the parties who are in dispute to try to resolve their difficulties and come to an agreement.

The ideal outcome of this process is that once an agreement is reached then an application can be made to the Court to turn your agreement into an enforceable Court Order, known as a Consent Order, although that of itself is not entirely necessary if you feel that the informal voluntary agreement will stand the test of time, although in the knowledge that any arrangements will likely change as a child gets older and their interests change.

Mediation however is a voluntary process, and so it is not something that anyone can be forced to undertake, and therefore if it is not successful or in certain circumstances considered not to be appropriate, then the only remaining option open to you may be to apply to the Court for what is known as a Child Arrangements Order.

By applying for a Child Arrangements Order, you can formulise the time that your child spends with both parents, when taking into consideration what is in the best interests of the child, and should any issues occur regarding the time the child spends with the other parent, then the terms of the Order can be enforced and or amended at a later date if necessary.

The granting of a Child Arrangements Order, unless agreed between the two parents and agreed and sanctioned by the Court, can be complicated and ordinarily it is not something that can be achieved in a short period of time. However, at Clarke and Son Solicitors we are here to help and guide you through this process, with the hope that what can be achieved results in a less stressful situation for you as a whole in terms of the future arrangements.

If you have any further queries or would like to book an appointment, please contact our Family Law team at 01256 320555 or email us at mail@clarkeandson.co.uk.

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