A cost effective and quick way to formalise parenting arrangements is by way of a Consent Order.
Parents who have separated and enjoy an amicable post-separation parenting relationship can decide on the arrangements for the children between themselves. Then they have that agreement made legally binding by the Courts. This is so each parent can be safe in the knowledge that, unless the parties otherwise agree in writing or there is a further order made by the Courts, there will be no arguments as to where the children reside or the time they spend with each parent. It also means the Courts can enforce the order if children are withheld from a parent, etc.
Considerations for Arrangements
When parents are considering what arrangements they would like included, we encourage them to:
Firstly, be as specific as possible about the frequency, duration and location of any time that a non-residential parent spends with the child(ren), and any communication with the children;
Secondly, detail any agreement about the choice of school, primary and secondary, and any issue that could arise as the children’s needs change;
Thirdly, attempt to draft the agreement in such a way that it can be relevant for as long as possible. This helps avoid the need to review it, or attend mediation if there is a disagreement about a particular term. Or, having to be involved in litigation.
Fitting a Consent Order to Suit a Family
Every family is different. Our task as family lawyers is to shape and mould the Consent Order into one which suits each family’s circumstances. Additionally, we do this while always having regard to what is in the best interests of the children. We strongly encourage people to seek advice before entering into a Consent Order. This is to ensure that it meets all of their expectations.