January is a time when most welcome a fresh start and begin re organising their life for the better.  For some it is a time for a new gym membership, a new diet, a new hobby, a new savings plan. For others it is time for taking action and making new and permanent arrangements for the family. That may be in the way of a separation, and/or a divorce; it may be in the way of creating a new routine for the children to spend time with a parent living separately.

Often the pressure and stress of the festive season takes its toll on couples and parents alike, leading to separation or dispute. Sometimes, it can be a separation or a change to contact arrangements that has been a long time coming and now that the fairy lights and the tree are packed away, you may decide that it’s time to make a change.

Whatever the reason may be for taking this step, it is important to take advice from a specialist lawyer to be aware of your legal rights, the process and the cost involved, before making any rash decisions.

For divorcing and separating couples, it is important to firstly consider the practical arrangements of a separation, such as will you both continue to contribute to the mortgage? Can you afford to run two households? If not, what is the impact of that on any plans to separate? Will the person moving out pay money toward the upkeep of the children? Perhaps one of the most important considerations is, when will the children see the parent that is moving out of the family home? What would be best for the children and their routine to minimise the impact of a separation upon them?

For those seeking to make changes to a contact arrangement already in place, it is also important to consider what is in the best interests of the children. Will the new arrangement allow them to maintain a healthy relationship and spend time with both parents?

Once you have taken advice in relation to these matters, you should try where possible to discuss and make arrangements with each other. If that is not possible then a lawyer can assist with negotiations or alternatively couples can attempt mediation to resolve a dispute.

Mediation is a process whereby you are both invited to attend a meeting together with a mediator present who is independent and legally trained in the area of law in question. The Mediator’s role will be to assist you in reaching a sensible arrangement.

Court proceedings to resolve disputes relating to arrangements for children and financial separation on divorce should be a last resort. However, if Court proceedings are necessary it is often best to consult a specialist lawyer to advise you and guide you through the process.

Our team of family lawyers at Farleys understand that many people considering separation are anxious and have a number of questions and fears regarding what may be their future arrangements. We also understand that each person will have their own unique set of circumstances. This is why we offer bespoke legal advice during our Case Management Meetings. The meetings are designed to listen to your individual situation and provide specialist advice in relation to all aspects of the separation.

If you would like a Case Management Meeting with one of our specialist team, then please contact us on 0845 0939 or submit your enquiry online.