Don’t Forget the Kids

broken homeAs a Solicitor with many years of practice in children disputes I would say that most cases that end up in court contesting access to children arise because of a little known concept of parental alienation.

I would go as far as to say that very many Solicitors who deal with this area of law are not even aware of this concept.  This may, or may not, be the reason why non resident parents receive a letter declaring that the children no longer wish to see their parent.  What is behind this?  Could it all be the fault of the resident parent, effectively poisoning the child against their parent.  I don’t think so.

How many times, during court proceedings, do we hear resident parents saying that the other parent has made no effort with the children when we clearly in the middle of court proceedings.  Court proceedings by its very nature are a clear indication that the non resident parent is intent on making an effort in the children’s life.  So why does the resident parent become so opposed to contact taking place between the children and their parent.

I have come to believe that following the breakdown of a relationship both parents often take a casual approach to resolving issues around the children.  This means that decisions around maintaining the children financially and sharing time with the children are never really discussed.  This leads to a lot of confusion later on.

My advice would be that parents faced with separation should take a robust approach to resolving issues around children.  Just before you storm up in an upset state, stop take a deep breath, sit down explain that you will be leaving and won’t be coming back and then spend some time deciding what is going to happen about the children.

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Equally, if you return home to find that your spouse has left taking the children, don’t let the dust settle before trying to solve issues around the children.  For a parent who became used to having a helping hand with the kids during the relationship, the reality of looking after the children alone can often be an unexpected shock.  So the days you take moping around licking your wounds are the same crucial days that the resident parent uses to adjust to their new single parent life.  By the time you get around to visiting your children, you may find that you are “surplus to requirements”.

Once the damage is done, it can be very difficult to undo.  By dealing with things sooner rather than later, you may be able to avoid a long drawn out dispute about the rights of you as a parent and the children to have a substantially relationship with each other.

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Rachel Toussaint LLB (Hons) is a Consultant Solicitor based in Birmingham, UK.  She is a human rights advocate and a specialist in UK immigration law. She is also the founder of Rogols Immigration Consultancy.  In her blog she shares legal tips on immigration, and on how individuals can exercise their citizenship / residence rights through civic engagement. http://www.racheltoussaint.wordpress.com

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Images courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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About Rachel Toussaint
Solicitor, Mentor, Speaker and a human rights advocate for families and immigrants. She combines her legal and practical knowledge to help clients resolve their disputes. Rachel is a wife and mother of 4 with a special interest in community empowerment.

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