Child custody agreements - how to make disagreements over children less painful

No matter how acrimonious the break up, making the process as stress free as possible for the children should be the main priority. It will certainly be the family court’s main priority so it is in everyone’s interest to keep disagreements over children as calm as possible. How can you do that and get the best outcome for your children? Here is our five-point guide.

#1 – keep the lines of communication open and keep talking

The worst thing that can happen for everyone involved is for talks to break down. Not only does that increase the tension between the parties (which the children will immediately pick up on), but it also has a knock-on effect for any arrangements. The best solution for everyone is to keep talking so that any issues can be resolved as quickly as possible and the children maintain stability in their lives.

#2 – Protect your children from any animosity

As your children are both your responsibility it is up to you to protect them from any animosity between you. The worst thing you can do is try and turn your children against your former partner. The UK family courts will not take kindly to reports of manipulating the feelings of children, regardless of how messy the separation is.

#3 – Get mediators on the case

If you cannot talk to one another without it ending in an argument you can ask mediators to step in. They are highly experienced at acting as go-betweens, and they have experience in dealing with disagreements over children. Talk to a solicitor if you want to try and organise some mediation before the custody case goes to court.

#4 – Always keep your children’s welfare at the centre of any decision

It is easy to start thinking only of your own situation in a complicated divorce or separation, but it is important to remember that there are other people affected by the events too. It is time to put your own personal feelings aside and keep your children’s welfare at the centre of every decision.

#5 – Think about the future

Any arrangements need to be flexible so that the children spend as much time as possible with both parents. This means you have to be relatively flexible too, not just immediately, but in the future as well. Things like schools, health provision, and even access to other family members such as grandparents are all part of the solution, so make sure you think about the long-term plans for your children as well as any immediate considerations.

Disagreement about children can be emotionally draining and challenging, so make sure you have a legal expert you can rely on, and whom you feel comfortable with to help you through the process.

If you have any questions, please contact Jane Wheeler who is a family solicitor in Portsmouth on 023 9224 6714 or email

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