Child Arrangements whilst serving in the Armed Forces
Making arrangements for children to see their parents can be difficult and complicated when one or both parents are serving in the Armed Forces.
The uncertain and ever-changing working rotas and deployments or tours for those that serve can often make it difficult for families to plan for the future. This can be made even harder when deployments or tours last for several months at a time. Stability and continuity are key factors for children and young people and when safe and appropriate to do so, stability and continuity should involve having a relationship with both parents.
Where possible, parents can make arrangements between themselves with the children’s best interests in mind. Making the arrangements amicably can often have less of a negative effect on the children’s well-being and provide stability and continuity.
In matters where it’s not been possible for parents to make arrangements themselves or where arrangements have fallen through, Child Arrangements Orders can set out where a child will live and what time they spend with each parent and are designed to give parents, and children, the certainty they need to ensure that contact runs smoothly for all involved. The Court is sympathetic to those who serve and understand that contact issues can be particularly difficult. If a parent is deployed, the Court Order should still run and recitals and orders can be included to make sure that this is clear to all parties.
Recently, the Court updated the process slightly when making an application for a Child Arrangements Order, with a new style First Hearing Dispute Resolution Appointment. The Court will list an initial hearing, not attended by the parties, and allows the court to consider what further directions are necessary. This not only saves money for the parties but will also hopefully allow for a more streamlined process.
It is never too early to plan ahead and make arrangements, particularly when they involve the longer school holidays or even a family holiday. All too often we see parents leave contact arrangements too late to be planned and agreed, meaning they will potentially miss out on valuable time with their children. It is therefore essential that any issues are addressed at this early stage, to hopefully enable an agreement to be reached it time.
At Wolferstans, we are keen to make this process as amicable and easy as possible for our clients and strive to reach agreements wherever possible. As members of Forces Law, we understand the difficulties that serving in our Armed Forces can bring and the importance of flexibility in those arrangements. We offer free initial consultations for those currently serving in the Armed Forces, and thereafter a 10% discount on our hourly rates once instructed. If you would like to discuss your options in relation to your child arrangements, please call our Client Services team on 01752 292201 to book a free initial consultation.