Contact is often referred to as “access”. When couples separate, arrangements need to be made for the children to reside (see “residence” information) with one parent and have contact with the other.
Consideration needs to be given to the frequency of contact, whether overnight contact stays are appropriate, and how handovers should take place. Each family is different and arrangements which work for one family may not work for another.
If the Courts are involved then a “Cafcass Officer” may well be appointed and if the parties with the assistance of Cafcass are still not able to reach an agreement, a Judge will decide what the arrangements should be.
Our specialist child contact solicitors can help you review your situation and advise you on the best way to protect your rights as a parent while balancing the needs and wellbeing of your children.
With expertise in facilitating voluntary arrangements for children between parents as well as pursuing court proceedings where necessary, our team can help you get the right outcome for you and your children, no matter how difficult the circumstances.
How we can help you make child contact arrangements
We understand that every situation is different, so can tailor our approach to the specific challenges you are facing and the outcome you want to achieve. In general, we will always aim to use non-confrontational dispute resolution wherever possible, but also have strong experience with court proceedings where required.
Using mediation to make arrangements for children
Mediation involves the parents, grandparents or other parties involved in a dispute meeting with a trained mediator to discuss the situation and make a voluntary agreement over contact and access arrangements.
Mediation usually involves several sessions during which our trained mediator will act as a neutral third-party to facilitate the discussions and defuse any potential conflict. This helps to ensure the process stays on track and that you are able to effectively agree a solution.
Mediation is usually the first choice for most families needing to make arrangements for children following divorce or separation and is usually the fastest, cheapest and simplest option.
Using collaborative law to arrange child contact
Collaborative Law can be a good alternative to mediation where there are more complex issues to resolve or if you would simply prefer the support of your own legal adviser during negotiations.
Collaborative Law involves the parents and/or any other interested parties meeting to negotiate arrangements for children, each accompanied by their own lawyer. The lawyers must have specialist training in Collaborative Law and cannot represent the parties if the matter latter goes to court, ensuring that everyone is fully committed to making the process a success.
We have a trained Collaborative Lawyer in our team, so can offer experienced representation for you during the process.
Court proceedings for access to children
We can also offer experienced, expert representation for those rare cases where court proceedings are required to secure access to children (or prevent access where you believe your child’s welfare may be at risk).
As well as our own in-house expertise, we also have established links with a number of specialist barristers and other relevant specialists, so can ensure you have the very best support and guidance to help you achieve the right outcome for you and your children.
For more information about the court process after you have issued an application for child access see this very useful video by a Family Court Judge, District Judge Bailey.
Why choose Thornton Jones for help with access to children?
We have many years of experience helping parents, grandparents and other relatives to sort out access to children following divorce and separation. We work with families across Yorkshire and rest of the country, providing a friendly, sensitive and highly effective approach to these challenging issues.
By focusing on non-confrontational dispute resolution wherever possible, we can typically achieve an agreement over contact and access to children that works for both parents and children, while avoiding unnecessary conflict that can make life harder for everyone.
We are accredited by the Law Society for Family Law and independently regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).