Mother’s Day is fast approaching and mums up and down the country are looking forward to being pampered and maybe even a present or two from their children. Making arrangements for this special time can, however, be problematic for families where the parents are separated.
There are no rules or presumptions as to how children should share time between their parents following a divorce or separation. It is however accepted that, unless there is a good reason, children should see both parents regularly. It is also usually preferable for there to be a pattern in place for children’s time with their parents. This enables everyone to plan and make arrangements. It also means that the children know when they are going to see each parent.
Issues can however arise if under that pattern the children would not be spending a special day with a particular parent. Mother’s Day exemplifies this issue. If the children are due to spend this day with their father this might be upsetting for both the mother and children. Similarly if one divorced parent’s birthday fell on the other’s weekend with the children or they were due to spend Father’s day with their mother.
What can Mums who are Separated or Divorced do to Ensure they See their Children on Mother’s Day?
It is always important to address issues as far in advance as possible. This means other arrangements can be changed if needed. It also provides time to explore options for resolution.
If you are being asked to vary the pattern in which you share your children following a divorce always remember that at some later stage you may need to ask for flexibility. If you accommodate a request the other divorced parent will hopefully be amenable to changes that you might need in the future.
Ensure a request to change is made politely and in a non-aggressive manner. It can often to be helpful to set it out in writing, for example in an email. This can give the other parent time to reflect on what you are proposing.
If you are asking to spend a day, such as Mother’s Day, with the children when they would usually be with the other parent, then it is often a good idea to offer additional time in return. This could perhaps be an extra day the following weekend.
If it is not possible to accommodate the change requested think about a compromise. For example, could the children be brought home early on Mother’s Day so that they can have tea with their mum?
Above all else it’s important for separated parents to remember that they should always put their children first and a compromise is often the easiest way for this to be achieved.
Vicki McLynn is a Senior Family Solicitor at Slater and Gordon Lawyers UK.
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