Reaching agreement with your child's mother


If you've decided to split up but you have a child, or children, there are some key things you and your ex will need to agree upon.

1. Contact

With exceptions for extreme circumstances, it's important that children have quality contact with both their parents. It's important both to help them adjust to their new situation and for their long-term emotional health and security.

What counts contact arrangements is quality not quantity. The pattern of care for your child pre-divorce should be the guide to agreeing new arrangements for your child's care post-divorce.

2. Upbringing

As your child grows up you'll need parenting input into stuff that affects their wellbeing, for example diet, religious upbringing, schools, bedtime, discipline etc.

3. Housing

It's a good idea to work out the details of your care and contact arrangments before you sort out what you're going to do about housing. 

If care will mostly be provided by one parent, then it may make sense for your child to remain living in the family home. Alternatively, you may need to sell the family home to fund two other homes where ongoing care will be more evenly shared.

4. Division of assets

The ongoing financial security of your children should be the starting point when it comes to division of assets. And a fair division is important for maintaining a constructive relations with your child's mother. 

5. Ongoing financial support

Financial support breaks down into two potential elements:

  • The need to provide financial security for your child
  • The need to provide financial security for your child's mum

You may need to talk to a mediator or a lawyer when agreeing financial support for your child's mum.

The Child Support Agency will also be able to establish the level of child maintenance. Again, a mediator or solicitor will be able to help. It is important that whatever arrangements you make don't disadvantage your child.

How should we reach agreement?

Reaching agreement through discussion and compromise is the best way forward. Reasons for avoiding going down the court route include:

  • Less stressful for your child
  • Less stressful for you and your child's mum
  • Quicker
  • Cheaper
  • More enduring

It's also reassuring for your child, as they're not emotionally divided. And modelling a cooperative adult relationship is important for the type of relationships your child will have once they're an adult.

Trained mediators can help you reach an agreement. If you need background legal info, you could also consult a solicitor.

  • Chat to other dads about how they reached agreements with their ex


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Last updated: 10-Jul-2012 at 3:33 PM