Opinion

Agreeing to put the children first

27th March 2019

Agreeing to put the children first

Mothering Sunday has the potential to be particularly difficult for any newly separated mum, as she adjusts to the reality of her significant change in circumstances.

However, for some it can be the prompt that parting couples need to put arrangements for their children on a more formal footing without the intervention of the courts.

Sioned Fitt, a lawyer in the Family team at Higgs & Sons, says Parenting Agreements or Parenting Plans can help to set out a clear intention as to how parents intend to raise their children following separation, and cover the practical issues of parenting in order to avoid fractious and costly litigation later on.

She says: “While Parenting Agreements are not legally binding, they are treated as a formal document that covers any and all the practical issues pertinent to parenting apart and can consolidate all manner of arrangements and agreements when it comes to children.

“Their purpose is to demonstrate the clear intentions of separated parents as to how they have agreed to raise their children and are a useful tool to fall back on should disputes arise later down the line.”

The Agreements are drawn up between both parents and show a commitment to put the interests of their children first. They can include practical decisions such as living arrangements, agreed channels of communication, holidays, schooling and health care.

The advantages to such an Agreement can be:

  • They are specifically designed to avoid court
  • They can be significantly cheaper than some other methods of dispute resolution
  • They allow both parents to agree arrangements rather than have a set of arrangements imposed upon them
  • They can take the animosity out of a separation where the parents feel they are working together to formalise arrangements
  • They aim to avoid disputes later down the line over what has been agreed

“Separation is hard on everyone involved, from the couple themselves to their children and wider extended family. But a Parenting Agreement can enable couples to continue to work alongside one another in the best interests of the children. Such Agreements can even include provision for children to spend every Mother’s Day with their mum – and no doubt the level of certainty such Agreements can bring offers relief to mums across the country this Mother’s Day.”

Sioned Fitt has experience working with families considering or going through divorce, particularly where children are involved. For more information, get in touch with her or a member of the family team on 0345 111 5050.

 

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