In most cases this is the question that dominates your mind if you are about to separate. In many families it is obvious who the children will spend most time with – work and other commitments can make this clear – but there is still the issue then as to when the non-custodial parent gets to spend time with the children.
There is no hard and fast answer as every family is unique. A court will expect the children to see both parents and, where possible, for them to have quality time with both of them. In the majority of cases the children will very much want to see the absent parent and their feelings must not be overlooked. This is especially true for younger children. It is vitally important that they know when they will next see the other parent. A routine should be established as soon as you can.
Sometimes older children might feel that one parent is to blame for the breakdown of the family and this can be problematic. If so they should be gently encouraged to not see the other one. If you are the parent that feels the brunt of this then don’t despair. In nearly every case the child eventually comes around. What is important is to keep the channels of communication open, so text or message them, even if they don’t reply they know that you are still concerned about them and thinking of them.
If you possibly can try and agree arrangements with your spouse quickly. But be flexible and be prepared to compromise. This is about the children and not scoring points off each other. If it proves difficult to agree then consider going to mediation – it’s a better venue than court for children issues and you have to be assessed for it before you can start court proceedings anyway.
Stephen Root is one of Yorkshire’s leading family lawyers. Highly praised by industry guides Chambers and Partners and Legal500, he has been supporting divorcing couples for over 30 years.
Berwins' dedicated and friendly team is here to help. If you have a matter you would like to discuss with Stephen and the team, please get in touch by calling (01423) 509000 or use our contact form online and we will get back to you as soon as possible.