Children inevitably feel caught between both parents when a couple decides to separate, divorce or dissolve their civil partnership.
Most parents manage to reach an amicable agreement about child custody and matters such as child support and schooling.
However, even when Child Arrangement Orders are in place, there may be issues in the future which parents disagree over – sometimes to the extent that court action seems inevitable.
The courts will also place the welfare of a child first – and before parental wishes.
In the case of child contact, for example, the Children Act 1989 states that a court order should not be made involving child contact and access arrangements unless it would be in the interests of the child. This is known as the No Order principle.
The family courts also prefer parents to reach agreement between themselves – known as a family based arrangement – rather than go to court to settle issues surrounding child custody, child contact or residence and financial support for children.
Since the end of Legal Aid for many family cases there has also been more emphasis on Family Mediation. The courts hope that a couple will be able to settle any differences over child contact and access between themselves amicably.
However, if this is not possible, the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Services (CAFCASS) may become involved and the matter may have to go to court.
Child mediation services can help parents avoid costly and traumatic court hearings, however, by helping parents focus on the issues at what is a very emotional time for parents and their children.
Child mediation can also be used as an alternative to applying for Specific Issues Order and Prohibitive Steps Orders, when parents are in dispute about matters such as a child’s schooling or one parent taking them on holiday.
In cases where agreement cannot be reached between a couple, Duncan Lewis can also arrange Family Mediation to help both parties work through the issues and reach a solution, without recourse to the courts.
Children who are old enough to understand what is happening can also be involved in Child Mediation and offer their views on what they would like to happen.
This allows parents to focus on the welfare of their children and make the right decision about their future, rather than dwelling on the past and any recriminations that might surface during a dispute over child care.
Because the courts will always take into account the welfare of the child, working through any differences within lawyer supported Child Mediation can help avoid traumatic court action.
Both parents can appoint their own Duncan Lewis children lawyer to give independent legal advice at every stage of the mediation process – Duncan Lewis’ own Mediators include Resolution qualified Professional Practice Consultants.
Duncan Lewis is ranked by the Legal 500 2014 for its Family & Matrimonial work – and the Duncan Lewis team includes Advanced Members of the Law Society’s Family Panel, and members of the Law Society Children Panel – so our team is well placed to help you resolve any child care issues via Child Mediation.
Duncan Lewis children lawyers offer a fixed fee for an initial client interview and assessment of private child matter and Child Mediation.
After a case has been assessed, it is usually possible for a fixed fee arrangement to be put in place – and Duncan Lewis will always advise clients of the costs in advance.
Duncan Lewis children lawyers always advise clients who are seeking help with child care matters – or who are in dispute over a child care issue – to get in touch as soon as possible before the situation escalates.
Once you have contacted Duncan Lewis, we can act swiftly in any child care matter and put in place measures to help resolve the issues and prevent further dispute and/or legal costs mounting up.
For expert legal advice on all child care matters – including and more information about Child Mediation – contact Duncan Lewis Children Lawyers on 020 7923 4020.