You are the greatest support for your child(ren) during this time. We therefore recommend also asking what support is available for me? Friends, therapy, books, podcasts ?
In terms of your child, it is likely that they will already have a support network in place and it is good for them to have continuity where possible. Invest in their existing friendships, extended family and relationships with adults such as music teachers and/or sports coaches. You can think about the role your child’s school and teachers could play at this time – some are better than others and your child may well have an opinion on how involved the school is!
It can be overwhelming to work out what needs to be prioritised now and what can wait until the family has found its feet again. In the short-term, you will need to work out:
We welcome enquiries from all parents who are separated/divorced and professionals who work with these families. The Paths Through Change approach works particularly well for:
Eily Livingstone, the founder of Paths Through Change was practising as a Family Solicitor until Spring 2020. She was recognised by both the Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners directories and called “a star in the making” while working as a Solicitor. In 2020, Eily decided to transition to a Solicitor (Non-Practising) and so Paths Through Change does not offer legal advice.
A solicitor or barrister will be able to tell you what the law says is best for your child and what a judge would be likely to do if they were asked to make a decision. They should also advise you what it will take – in terms of time and cost – to try and achieve your aim. They may also inform you of the risks regarding the impact on your child, your relationship with your child’s other parent and the chances of obtaining a judgment that you want (or one you don’t want).
If you and your child’s other parent are able to agree the arrangements (either by yourselves or with outside assistance), you do not need to involve lawyers. Even if your child’s other parent instructs a lawyer, you can ask them to communicate directly with you.
If your child’s other parent suggests mediation, you can choose whether or not to attend. A mediator may not be legally qualified and cannot force your child’s other parent to do or agree anything. Before you start, a mediator should tell you what you will get out of the process and what it will cost and how long it will take. You can try mediation and stop the sessions if it is not helpful.
If you’re unsure, we suggest talking to others who have used the different processes to hear about their experiences.
During the COVID pandemic, we are working entirely online.
We are based in North London but will always be able to offer an online service to make our services available to families all over the world.