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When a couple separate and there are children involved it can be a deeply unsettling time for all concerned and that includes the children.

There are numerous reasons why relationships cannot be saved but minimising the impact upon the children should be every parent’s consideration.

Why does your former partner not want to maintain a relationship with the children?

There may be numerous reasons why one parent does not feel they want to or cannot maintain a relationship following a separation.  This can include poor mental health, homelessness, drug/alcohol misuse, moving away from the area or financial difficulties. Some of these cases may be best dealt with in the Court arena due to the nature of the problems.

What are my options try and resolve the difficulties?

Ultimately, if a parent does not want to or cannot commit to a relationship they cannot be forced to do so.

However, you do have a couple of options:

  • Mediation is one way in which the parties can try and reach an agreement or at least try and reach an understanding of the other’s difficulty. Bray & Bray are able to put you in touch with a local mediation service. Mediation involves yourself and your former partner talking about your difficulties with a trained mediator.
  • An alternative option is to instruct a solicitor to write to the other party which may open up some useful dialogue to help both parties realise the impact that the relationship breakdown is having on the children and ways in which they can support a continuing relationship between the absent parent and the children.

What if neither of these options work?

The use of mediation and/or one of the parties obtaining legal advice can be useful to evidence what steps the parties have taken to try and resolve any issue that they have. There should always be a solution if the parties want to try to resolve their difficulties for the benefit of their children. If there has been no resolution to the problem you can issue Court proceedings to obtain an order and the other party will be the Respondent. You will be able to evidence what efforts you have made and it will give the other party a final opportunity to indicate what they want and what they are prepared to commit to.

What is the impact of contact not taking place?

This will depend on the particular case. There is evidence to suggest there being no contact is emotionally harmful and also that a lack of consistency can cause considerable damage to the parent/child relationship.

Expert Family Law advice

If you would like more information or assistance resolving the impact of a relationship breakdown on children, contact a member of our family law team based at each of our offices using the contact details below.