Summer 2019 is upon us and children and parents are making the most of the school holidays and the weather.
However for some single-parent families the summer holidays can mean more conflict and disputes over child care arrangements, says Lucy Todd, family law solicitor at Irwin Mitchell Solicitors.
She says it is during this period the firm sees a spike in some child arrangement disputes, reflective of the desire to take their children away on holiday or to spend additional time outside of their ‘usual’ arrangements.
She added it can cause conflict between separated parents, particularly where communications are strained.
Guidance and advice has been prepared by the Irwin Mitchell solicitor in a bid to reduce tension and achieve constructive communication.
The aim is to enable parents to positively co-parent, which will undoubtedly be in the best interests of the children involved.
Ms Todd offers the following advice:
* Champion the principle that it is in the best interests of the children to have a meaningful and secure relationship with each parent (subject to there being no safeguarding concerns e.g. issues relating to violence, abuse etc.).
* Acknowledge that the children are to be treated as important individuals with unique feelings, ideas and desires and not as a source of arguments between parents.
* Never denigrate the other parent in the presence or hearing of the children.
* Never seek to undermine the other parent’s position as the child’s parent.
* Actively encourage the knowledge and appreciation of what is good in each parent.
* Permit the children to express their love and affection for the absent parent. This will enable the children to feel that they have the emotional permission to love both parents, and avoid them fearing the other parent’s disapproval which will, in turn, permit the children to relax and enjoy their time with the other parent;
* Ensure that the children are not placed in a position to manipulate one parent against the other.
* Endeavour to communicate reasonably and properly with the other parent in respect of arrangements relating to their children and show proper respect to one another.
* Never attempt to discuss the arrangements via the children. These are adult issues and the children should be protected from them.
* Remember that children require routine, stability and consistency. It is important that they feel secure in the arrangements made.
* Understand that to expose the children to adult conflict may contribute to the risk of the children suffering long term emotional and psychological damage.