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Raising children together following divorce

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Ministers plan divorce law overhaul

Despite it being a few years since her last music release, Adele has still found herself subject to numerous headlines with many referencing her multi-million pound divorce from her husband. She and her husband have an eight year old child together and, according to news reports, they have confirmed within their divorce settlement that they will be sharing legal and physical custody of their child. When they first separated in 2019, they released a statement saying that they were “committed to raising their son together lovingly”.

This is a clearly child focused approach, where both parents are committed to working together. While Adele’s divorce has taken place in the United States of America, the courts in England and Wales also place great emphasis on parents working together. Parents are encouraged to come to their own agreements regarding the time a child spends with their parents, recognising that this approach is often in the child’s interests.

The courts in England and Wales would only make an order regarding child arrangements if it considers it to be better for the children than making no order at all. Of course, it may not always be an easy for separating parents to navigate and reach agreements together.  A parenting plan is a tool that parents can utilise to help them make arrangements regarding the children, including living arrangements, education and health care. The plan can be used as a discussion tool and enables both parents to be actively involved in decision making for their children. Examples of a parenting plan can be found online: Cafcass Parenting Plan

The court requires parents to attempt mediation before making any application to court regarding child arrangements. Some couples may find that the mediation process is beneficial in assisting them to come to an agreement, by providing an environment where there is an independent, trained third-party who can guide them through the process. It will generally also be much quicker and less expensive than making an application to court.

There are some circumstances where mediation may not be appropriate, and there are exemptions to the court’s requirement to go through mediation first. If you are having difficulties in reaching an agreement with your ex-partner or if there has been a break down in your contact arrangements, our specialist family solicitors can advise you in relation to your own individual circumstances. 

BBC News: Adele finalises divorce with joint custody of son