Nobody ever thinks they’ll get divorced but it’s becoming more and more common, so you could easily find yourself in this situation. When you are going through a divorce, there are a lot of different factors you need to consider so you can negotiate a settlement that works for everybody.
If you are a high-earner or a business owner, it’s important that you protect your assets, but there are more important things than money. In a divorce where children are involved, it is crucial that both parties decide on what is best for the children. The biggest question is who gets custody and what will the visitation arrangements be?
This is a very complex issue to work out and the process varies in all divorce settlements. Sometimes, it is resolved quickly and easily, but it can also take a long time and involve a lot of court hearings. If you are considering a divorce, here is everything you need to know about child custody and visitation rights.
What Needs To Be Decided?
There are two main things that need to be decided in relation to child arrangements; who will the child live with full-time and what visitation rights, if any, will the other parent have?
When making these decisions, it is important that both parents put their own differences aside and think about what is truly best for the children involved. Unfortunately, when emotions are running high, this doesn’t always happen.
When Parents Agree
In some cases, parents might have an amicable discussion about what is best for their children and come to an agreement. This is the best case scenario because it means that things can be sorted out quickly. It may be useful to write a parenting plan, which outlines everything you have discussed. However, this is not legally binding, so it’s also a good idea to speak to family law solicitors about taking out a court order and getting a legally binding agreement. Even if things are amicable right now, there may be a lot of tension later on when it comes to dividing up assets. Having a legally binding agreement in place means that the best interests of the child are always protected.
When Parents Don’t Agree
If parents don’t agree, things get more complicated. The first step is to go through a mediation process where you work with a mediator to come to some kind of agreement. You can take advice from legal professionals during this process, but they will not usually be present at the sessions.
In cases where couples can’t come to an agreement through mediation, a child arrangements order will be filed. The paperwork is submitted by one parent and the other then responds. You will then both be invited to a hearing where the details are discussed and agreed upon. This will then be a legally binding arrangement until the child is 18.
Hopefully, parents can agree on the best arrangements for the child without having to file a child arrangements order. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen. Even if you do agree, it’s still a good idea to get a legally binding contract in place so the child is protected in the future.
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