Separating couples who have children will generally be able to come to an amicable agreement about the arrangements for their children without the involvement of the Courts. This includes where the children will live and what time they will spend with each parent.

If parents are not able to agree the arrangements for their children without assistance, we will encourage them to do so by referring them for mediation. There may be circumstances where a referral for mediation would not be appropriate, particularly where there has been a history of domestic abuse. If they are able to reach an agreement between themselves or with the help of mediation, it is usually not necessary for there to be a formal Court order.

However, in some instances, where the arrangements cannot be agreed by the separating parents, the Court may have to be involved to decide what those arrangements should be. In reaching any decision about the children, the first and most important consideration for the Court is the welfare of the children.