When there are children involved in a separation

Parenting cases or child-related proceedings are matters where people seek the help of the Court to resolve a dispute about their rights and obligations towards children.

At all stages during the Family Court proceedings, you will need to keep in mind the impact that the separation may have on the children. Here are a few matters you should take into consideration:

·        the need to protect and safeguard the interests of children;

·        the importance of a continuing relationship between children and both parents;

·        the child gains from the parents cooperating with one another;

·        the potential damage to a child involved in a dispute, particularly if the child is encouraged to take sides or take part in any dispute between the parents;

·        the importance of identifying issues early and exploring options for settlement;

·        the need to avoid protracted, unnecessary, hostile and inflammatory exchanges;

·        the impact of correspondence (emails, letters, SMS, social media, etc) on the reader, and any other party in the case;

·        the need to seek only those orders that are realistic and reasonable on the evidence and that are consistent with current law;

·        the principle of proportionality and the need to control costs;

·        the duty to make full and frank disclosure of all material facts, documents, and other information relevant to the dispute.

The Court’s primary concern when resolving or determining family disputes is to work out what is in the best interests of the child or children. This is not always as easy as it might sound. The Court takes a very cautious approach especially when there are children. If any allegations of child abuse are raised, they are taken seriously and will be further investigated.

At the end of the day, the children just want to be loved and happy. With a little consideration and thought, you can go your separate ways and still achieve that.

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