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It is always best for separating parents to agree arrangements for children between themselves. You may wish to consider whether mediation would be of assistance.

If it is not possible to reach an agreement then an application can be made for the Court to decide. There are different types of applications: Residence (formerly custody) – where a child should live. Contact (formerly access) – how often a child should see the other parent. Prohibited Steps Order – an order preventing a person from certain activities or actions. Specific Issue Order – can include decisions as to where a child should go to school for example. In deciding which order to make the Court will consider the following:

(a) The ascertainable wishes and feelings of the children concerned (considered in light of their age and understanding).

(b) Their physical, emotional and educational needs.

(c) The likely effect on them of any change in their circumstances.

(d) Their age, sex and background and any characteristics of theirs which the Court considers relevant.

(e) Any harm which they suffered or are at risk of suffering.

(f) How capable each of the parents are in meeting their needs.

(g) The range of powers available to the Court under the Children Act 1989.

Sometimes when you split up your friends take sides or just don't want to get involved. Either way it may never be the same again.

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