These days, it is court policy not to become involved in children matters unless it becomes absolutely necessary. This means that if you and your spouse are in agreement about how children will be cared for and how they will be supported, the court is unlikely to become involved.
Where any children (under 18 years old) are involved in a divorce, a Statement form is submitted to the Court along the original divorce petition. This sets out financial support, where the children will live, any educational arrangements, what contact the other party will have with the children and the frequency of that contact.
Copies of the divorce petition, Statement of Arrangements for Children forms along with an Acknowledgement of Service form are then sent to the respondent.
The Respondent reviews the documentation and is required to complete and return the Acknowledgement of Service form. The form asks questions in respect of the divorce petition and proposed child arrangements. It also clarifies whether the Respondent is in agreement with proposed arrangements.
In cases of disagreement, the court will either ask for more information or request a meeting with the Petitioner and Respondent in the company of the CAFCASS (Children and Family Court Advisory Support Service) Officer in an attempt to iron out any disagreements. The courts aim is to do what it considers to be in the best interests of the children.
Please bear in mind that such proceedings can be very exacting and painful for those involved (especially children) and should be avoided if at all possible. All efforts should be made to find a mutually amicable solution in advance of any court proceedings.
If you are unable to reach an amicable agreement with your spouse then we can advise you on the cost effective next steps.