How can I see my child without going to court?
It is often in the best interests of the child to see and have contact with both parents unless they are placed at risk by doing so. Having parental responsibility does not give an automatic right to see your child, therefore, if you want to have contact with your child after a divorce or separation, it is important that you take proactive steps if you do not want to go through court.
Arranging contact to see your child is called “child arrangements.” The legal system in England promotes cooperation between parents and supports amicable relationships, since it is best for the child that their parents and wider family are civil.
In fact, new divorce law has recently been introduced in England which means that couples do not need to give negative reasons for breaking up and can divorce without any reason.
Not only does this allow people to divorce more easily which can cause less conflict, but it means that ex-couples can focus on important decisions like making child arrangements.
If you have broken up with your partner and you want to see your child but do not want to go to court, the best way is to try to solve any issues between you and your partner through other means.
What is a parenting plan?
A parenting plan is where you and the other parent decide together how to bring up your child. This includes details about their day-to-day activities and upbringing such as where they will go to school and when they will see each parent and who they will live with. The parenting plan is a good way to make more concrete arrangements so that each parent knows where they stand.
How does mediation work?
Mediation is an alternative to going to court. It is an opportunity for you and the other parent to talk openly about your expectations moving forwards. There will be a trained mediator present who will help to support amicable communication to resolve issues. This can be a good alternative to court as it allows arrangements to be discussed and arranged to give both parents a chance to express themselves. Often parents know what is in the best interests of their children, so open conversations are welcomed.
What if we cannot decide amicably who sees the child?
In some cases, you may find that you just are not able to decide amicably on child arrangements, namely, who will see the child and when. If you have exhausted all of your options, it may be that going to court is your final one.
Going to court can be a lengthy process and it surely causes stress for everyone invovled. It is not in the best interests of the child to see their parents go through court, as the reality is that they are likely to be affected in one way or another. Therefore, trying to resolve issues outside of court is the best first step.