Divorce can be all the more emotional to navigate when children are involved. Deciding on the best arrangements is a vital stage of divorce proceedings, ensuring their well-being and stability.

Understanding the various aspects of child arrangements during and after a divorce is key, helping you to create a parenting plan that prioritises their interests.

What child arrangements do you need to think about in divorce?

Arrangements after divorce need careful consideration to ensure each child’s needs are met. This includes decisions about custody, where children live (residency) and the financial support required. You’ll also need to think about contact and visitation rights for the non-resident parent to spend time with the children, including holidays and special occasions.

Determining how parental responsibility will be shared between both parents should also be discussed, making important decisions about the child’s upbringing, such as education and healthcare.

You should also establish a method of communication between you for discussing child-related matters and emergencies.

What is a parenting plan?

A parenting plan is a written document outlining the agreed child arrangements between divorced or separated parents. It serves as a practical guide and reference point, clarifying expectations and responsibilities.

This type of plan is highly recommended, promoting cooperation, reducing conflicts and prioritising children’s best interests. While they are not legally binding, courts often consider parenting plans when making decisions about your children. It can also help to outline a process for resolving conflicts or disagreements relating to child arrangements.

A parenting plan typically includes details such as child residency between homes, contact schedules, communication and parental responsibilities. Consider the time each parent has available, your children’s current schedules and maintenance agreements.

What should you do if you disagree on child arrangements when divorcing?

Disagreements over child arrangements can be stressful and emotive, but there are steps you can take to resolve them. This includes divorce mediation services, helping you to work through disagreements and find mutually acceptable solutions that take a child-centred approach.

If mediation does not lead to an agreement, court intervention may be required to make legally binding decisions on child arrangements, taking their best interests into account.

Consult with a family law solicitor for legal advice on your rights and responsibilities. They can provide guidance and represent your interests in court if necessary.

Does everyone need a child arrangement order?

A child arrangement order is a legally binding court order. It specifies child arrangements, including custody, visitation and parental responsibility in a structured way. While not everyone needs one, there are situations where this type of order may be necessary to protect your children’s welfare.

For example, when parents cannot agree on child arrangements, a court order can provide clarity and enforceability, especially in complex cases such as one party planning an international relocation. In cases involving child safeguarding concerns, a court order can outline protective measures and conditions for contact.

Get help from a friendly family lawyer

If you need more advice for child arrangements during a divorce, please get in touch with Bellwether Solicitors. We are based in Cheam and Kingston, with clients coming to us from Thames Ditton, Twickenham and beyond.

Contact us now.