Where to start
Agreeing how and when the children will spend time with each parent can be difficult and very often everyone concerned feels that the situation is unfair. Finding something that is “good enough” for both parents as well as the child may feel impossible to achieve.
As well as deciding routine arrangements for the children, separated parents will have to consider how to deal with special occasions like birthdays and Christmas, school holidays and holidays abroad. It is ideal if the parents can also agree on decisions such as bed time, diet and activities for the children.
If things have been done and said that resulted in one or both parents experiencing negative emotions, it can be very hard to think objectively.
Mediation provides a safe space to have these discussions. The mediator can interpret and reframe what each person is saying to maximise the chances that the other person will clearly understand what has been said.
This is important because quite often people who are in dispute do not hear or understand each other. While this does not guarantee agreement, it is an essential first step!
Having a written plan helps parents focus on what is in the best interests of their child.
The mediator will guide you through the practical issues to be worked out, and can let you know what options other parents in your situation have tried. Together you will assess the strengths and weaknesses of those options.
Making a decision now, means that each time an event arises, you and your ex-partner do not have to “re-invent the wheel”; you’ll have a framework in place that you can build upon as your children grow older and more independent.
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When couples separate they are often faced with having to somehow afford to run two homes from the same, or less, income than they had previously. Usually this is very difficult and in some cases not possible at all.
Property & Living Arrangements
When couples separate, their living arrangements in the short, medium and long term can be difficult to agree. If you co-own a property there will be questions about if and when it is to be sold, who may live there, how the value will be divided and when.
Quite often separating couples can find the divorce process itself, the administrative process of dissolving the marriage, to be difficult. There can be uncertainty and disagreement about fundamental issues.