For children, being able to spend time with both of their parents is important. In certain, relatively rare, situations it may not be appropriate for children to spend time with one or either of their parents due to serious concerns about the wellbeing or safety of the child(ren) in that parent’s care, but for the majority of families, children benefit from spending time with both. As difficult as it may seem at first, managing to successfully parent across two homes is achievable.
Don’t assume that your children can’t manage living between two homes; some of the practical issues may be more of an impact on you as parents than the child or young person. Children can be much more flexible and adapt to sharing their time between both of you, if you provide a secure framework for them and make it clear that they have two homes.
You may feel very angry or hurt by the actions of your ex but, as parents, you have a responsibility to ensure your children are parented to the best of your ability. Try to work out how to manage family transitions together regardless of whether you live together or apart and of who else may be involved.
Talking to a Family solicitor can be helpful in terms of arranging and agreeing the time children spend with each parent, particularly if communication is difficult with the other parent. Asking for help from a solicitor doesn’t mean that you will automatically end up at court; family lawyers do everything they can to negotiate arrangements without resorting to court involvement. If there is a complete breakdown in communication, or if circumstances arise which make it inappropriate for the child to spend time with the other parent, then it may be appropriate to refer the matter to mediation and thereafter make an application to court. If court proceedings are necessary, then it is always sensible to get advice and input from a solicitor so that you aren’t “caught out” at a court hearing and so that you are able to present your case in the most effective way. Attending court, whether it be in person or by video, can still be quite a daunting prospect for a parent, particularly if the other parent is represented by a lawyer or barrister, and the more help you can get the more likely it is that the court will make decisions which are in the best interests of your child(ren).