Mother’s Day is often a wonderful celebratory time for many families. However it can also be a painful reminder of difficult circumstances if you are unable to spend time with your children on this special day. It can be the small things that can make you feel sad, perhaps as a single parent when your children are too young to make a card or recognise the occasion. However it can be felt much more deeply on Mother’s Day, when your children are not with you.
Contact and residence matters, now referred to as ‘child arrangements’, can be a long and emotionally draining journey to reach an agreement or decision on what these should be. This process isn’t necessarily free either; there is no public funding for these matters since the legal aid cuts except in cases where there is specific evidence of domestic abuse dated within the last five years.
If matters can be resolved amicably, that is beneficial for all involved but sadly this isn’t always possible. Mediation is encouraged and if this is effective then other avenues can be explored.
If you are the primary carer and fear the other party is a serious risk to your children then you may take the decision to stop contact. The Courts will seek to ensure that appropriate safeguarding takes place if there is any risk that the children may be exposed to.
We can assist with all sorts of matters of this nature including child arrangement disputes and even help with enforcement of child arrangement orders where one party isn’t complying with a Court order.
What is important to remember is that when there are children involved in the situation and though emotions run high, your child’s wellbeing is the most important factor to consider. Sometimes taking legal advice is necessary to gain a resolution and ensure the best outcome for your child/children.
Within the Court process there will be involvement from CAFCASS. They may give recommendations as to who is best placed to care for the children, or how much time each parent should spend with the children. It isn’t the case that Mothers will always be the primary carer. A decision will be made based on the circumstances of each case. The best interests of the children will be the main consideration for any Court. This is a difficult situation for anyone to go through and though the process may take a certain amount of time, effects can be felt a long time afterwards.
We understand this can be a stressful and turbulent time and we will always strive to go beyond the best legal advice, also providing emotional support and practical advice.
If you do need some advice at this time get in touch on 0208 884 2277.
– Deepa Chohan, Solicitor