Seeing your children on Mother’s Day – Don’t just keep mum about your rights after divorce
Rupinder Nandra, an associate in our family team, gives some timely advice ahead of this year’s Mother’s Day.
Special times of year, when families celebrate together, are often difficult after separation or divorce.
And the approach of Mother’s Day on 31st March is no different.
There’s no set rules for exactly how long children should spend with each parent and on which days of the year – it’s a matter for negotiation.
That can be a big ask when, in many cases, the former couple no longer see eye to eye.
Yet it’s important to set out an agreement on time spent with each parent and to factor in what to do with special days. For example, if Mothering Sunday might fall on Dad’s weekend, it’s reasonable to ask to do a swap in exchange for seeing the children on Father’s Day.
If that agreement cannot be reached then it’s important to have proper legal advice, well in advance of the event, to make sure matters can be ironed out and an application to court can be made if needed.
If it goes that far, we can make an application for a Child Arrangements Order. This sets out exactly when contact should take place, taking into account the child’s welfare and any practical matters, like cost or work.
Ultimately, the court will be on the side of the child and what’s in their best interest, while it’s common for an order to be granted stipulating Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are spent with the respective parent.
When negotiating and putting in place contact arrangements bear these tips in mind:
Think about the child’s best interest - not what is convenient for you.
Try to communicate directly with each other and don’t use the child as the messenger.
If your child is old enough to express his/her wishes and feelings, listen to what they want when negotiating arrangements.
If you can’t agree, seek legal advice ahead of the special occasion.
Consider attending mediation services or family counselling – it’s cheaper than going to court and they’ll help you come to an agreement rather than telling you what to do.
This is only a brief snapshot of the areas to consider. Readers requiring further advice on contact issues can call me on 01562 820181 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the author:
Rupinder specialises in all family-related matters following divorce or separation, including the arrangements for children where parents cannot agree on where a child should live and the time spent with the other parent. Rupinder also has experience in dealing with child abduction cases including cases with an international element.
She represents clients in divorce, separation and financial matters, including cases involving business and inherited assets. She is also a qualified Solicitor-Advocate and therefore represents clients in court in all family proceedings, including final contested hearings.
Rupinder has spent time on the board of Trustees for a Birmingham based domestic violence refuge which has extended her interest in representing clients in proceedings relating to domestic abuse and injunctive Orders.
She is also regular commentator on legal issues within the local and regional media, together with BBC radio.
Rupinder has also been recommended in the Legal 500 2019 as 'energetic', 'dedicated' and 'her clients can trust her to pursue goals with well-calculated care and vigour.'