Working out how to co-parent is undoubtedly one of the most challenging and emotional aspects of a relationship breakdown. In the immediate aftermath, emotions are likely to be high and decisions about child arrangements are inevitably not easy.
When a relationship ends it is crucial to remember that as a parent your parenting relationship continues. Although it may seem impossible to put aside acrimony felt towards your partner, working out how to co-operate can make all the difference to how your children experience the separation process. Essentially the court’s view is that children should experience a positive relationship with both of their parents and it is the parents’ responsibility to facilitate this where possible.
Should you find it difficult to communicate with your partner to make arrangements for the children, Cafcass offers a useful course called The Separated Parents Information Programme which aims to helps parents deal with the transition to becoming a separated parent.
Breakdown in arrangements
In circumstances where it becomes impossible to agree arrangements for the children between you, the next best option is mediation which offers a safe space to help you reach an agreement. The main benefit of mediation if successful, is that it allows you and your ex-partner to make your own decisions rather than having a judge decide for you. For this reason agreements achieved through mediation tend to work better and last longer.
If mediation is not appropriate or does not prove to be successful, the final option is negotiation via solicitors and ultimately making an application to the court. Court proceedings can however be uncertain, costly, time consuming and emotionally draining so should ideally only be considered as a last resort.