Children Top Tips

  1. Create a parenting plan. These are great as they give both parents a clear outline of things to do and ways to act. Consider using a tool such as as all important information regarding the children is held on an app and this may help create less conflict.  Meeting regularly to discuss the children’s needs demonstrates both parents are on the same page despite being separated.  This can also stop children playing one parent off against the other as they get older.
  2. Communicate. The more you talk to each other and try to sort out child arrangements between you, the less acrimonious things may be, which in turn can make it less costly for you. Try and stay calm when discussing difficult issues.  It is not always easy but staying calm stops things from escalating unnecessarily. Listen to each other and the children; be open to suggestions. Children do better when their parents get along and communicate effectively. Aim to learn or practice these skills if you need to.
  3. Be consistent. Being consistent and keeping to arrangements is very important, especially for the child; It can help to avoid future conflict. Perhaps involve the children in writing house rules and boundaries and make sure that both parents understand and respect each other’s wishes, otherwise it could make it confusing for the child.
  4. Plan ahead. It helps to plan so that everyone knows where they stand and to avoid misunderstandings. If it’s difficult to plan ahead, for example if you work shifts, try to agree on some basic guidelines. These could include how many days a week a child spends with each parent and how much notice you should both give. If there’s a school trip or a friend’s party that affects the usual arrangements, give the other parent as much notice as you can.
  5. Try mediation. If you cannot finalise arrangements between you, then this is a great way to talk things through with a professional who will remain impartial. You may benefit from mediation if you can’t agree on how to parent. This means someone impartial will help you discuss difficult issues together and try and reach an agreement regarding arrangements for the children.

Laura Martin is a Family Law Solicitor specialising in divorce and finances and is based in our Blandford office. Laura is Head of the Department and has been practising Family Law since 2004.  She is a member of Resolution and is a Law Society Accredited Mediator.  Julie Keogh is a Family Law Executive and specialises in children matters.  Julie is based in our Blandford office but also travels to our Dorchester and Weymouth office when required. Julie has been practising Family Law since 2006.

If you would like to speak to us about your situation for a complimentary 30-minute consultation or a more in-depth discussion for a 1 hour fixed fee consultation at £132, please contact us on 01258 459361 or visit 

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