It’s that time again: Christmas is firmly behind us, it’s a New Year with a fresh start and how many of us have already broken new diet regimes with leftover chocolate or fallen off the proverbial wagon of any number of resolutions we made when Big Ben chimed us in to 2018 just days ago? Or is the resolution to give up making grand resolution each year and start with smaller manageable and sustainable changes?
The debate about whether children should have a voice in cases which decide their future was recently reignited. The BBC reported (Should children be heard in English family court cases?) that some children and campaigners supported by some senior family law judges wanted to see a change in the law to allow children to speak to the judge in their case, if they so choose.
Divorce is not easy for anyone involved. The husband and wife, kids, grandparents, friends. Everyone will be affected in different ways. The key thing is to navigate the process and negotiations in as calm a sea as possible.
In my many years as a family lawyer I have had many requests for help by a separated parent, to take a child abroad on holiday, or for a longer stay. Such requests can usually be resolved often by the simple expediency of providing all the necessary information to the other parent such as flight details, dates of travel, accommodation details at the holiday destination and an emergency number. Most parents will not want to deprive their child of a holiday even if they feel they have other grievances with their ex.
A common question I get asked during the divorce process from worried dads is: what rights do I have as a father?
The first thing to say in response to this is that the law is focused on, and based around, the needs and rights of the children, not those of the parents. It is what is best for the children. Often that will be to ensure a healthy, supportive relationship is maintained with both mum and dad. In broad terms, it is considered to be their right to have a relationship with both parents.