School of thought
Rachel Spencer Robb, Family Law Partner at law firm LCF Law considers the impact of children returning to school when sharing childcare between two households.
A fter the challenges of the last 12months and what I am sure will have affected every parents’ household in one way or another it is with trepidation that our children have now returned back to school.
For some separated families the end of the holidays and a return to school means an additional routine of sharing childcare between two households, and hopefully reaching an agreement with their former partner. Not easy in some cases for all sorts of reasons. There may be disputes about times, days, weekends, activities and sometimes even what school the child should attend.
If parents cannot agree arrangements for their child or children, an application can be made to the court for a remedy. Parents can also apply to court in relation to a Specific Issue, and the court can address the issue of whether or not a child should return to school or any other major decision that affects a child’s upbringing.
The court must consider the parents’ opinions and the best interests of the children. How the child will be educated, home-schooling arrangements or any underlying health issues in the family may all be considered by the court when making a decision.
However, with the pandemic the court is under pressure and time for hearings is limited, not to mention expensive. It is no secret that it is in a child’s best interest for their parents to try to reach an agreement in relation to their upbringing, in the same way that would have happened had the parents stayed in a relationship.
Parents should always consider alternatives to litigation as, handing over the decision-making power about your children to a third party is not something any parent should take lightly. An application to court should only be made if there is no hope of an agreement and other options such as mediation, round table meetings with a solicitor or private arbitration should all be exhausted first.
If you are unsure about what to do in relation to arrangements for your children, we would advise you to seek specialist independent legal advice from an experienced family lawyer.
LCF Law has offices in Ilkley, Harrogate, Leeds, and Bradford.