Q: When my wife and I divorced we came to an informal arrangement between ourselves about our two children. They were to live with her and spend every other weekend with me. However, they are now getting older and more independent and often want to do things with their friends at the weekends.
This I accept as I want them to grow up with friends and pursuing their various activities, but it means I rarely get to spend quality time with them. They would be happy to spend some weekdays with me, but my ex-wife has refused. What should I do?
A: For the sake of the children, ‘parenting plans’ need to be flexible. They also need to be updated as children get older, to take into account their changing needs. It would probably be best for you and your children if your ‘parenting plan’ was updated and made into a formal arrangement.
Creating a parenting agreement can be overwhelming as it is essential to cover every situation that may occur and use the right legal language to make it airtight. It is therefore safer to have a family solicitor draw it up for you and make it legally binding. The Agreement would be a document outlining, amongst other things, details of how you will look after your children, where they will live and when and whom they will spend time with. It can also include things like making education decisions and what happens if a parent gets a new partner.
You and your ex-wife would then need to sign a Consent Order confirming the Agreement, and either you or your solicitor would need to send this to the Court with the relevant form and fee, for the Judge to approve and make it legally binding. When making its decision the Court will always consider first and foremost the needs of the children. Going through the Court means you can enforce the Agreement.
This question has been answered by Nathan Wright, a Partner with GHP Legal. If you would like to speak to someone about this or any other legal matter it is still possible, and we are doing everything we can to ensure that we continue to offer our high levels of service to our clients. Where possible, we ask that you communicate with us by phone or email. If you have a new enquiry or for an appointment visit www.ghplegal.com or contact one of our offices: Wrexham 01978 291456, Llangollen 01978 860313, Oswestry 01691 659194