Child arrangements during school holidays

Schools out!

Most schools have broken up for the long summer holiday & you might be planning to take your child away abroad, but what if the other parent with parental responsibility disagrees?

Unfortunately, school holidays can sometimes cause issues relating to child arrangements.

Have you got a Child arrangement order in place?

A child arrangement order provides a clear and legally binding schedule for when and with whom the child will spend time.

This clarity helps both parents and the child understand their roles and responsibilities and reduces confusion and potential conflicts. It helps ensure that both parents have access to their child as outlined in the order.

The arrangement order will also provide predictability and consistency, which are essential for a child’s emotional well-being.

Coming to an agreement amid separation can be a challenge, but it is important to remember that confrontation and disputes in front of the children can have a huge impact on them. This is why it’s so important to prioritise your children’s well-being above anything else. Remember that contact should be for the benefit of the child.

If you are struggling to agree on summer holidays and arrangements for the children in general, it may be wise to allow third party intervention.

A solicitor can help you formalise arrangements with a Child Arrangement Order to help everyone understand their rights and obligations.

Contact our specialist team of Solicitors today on 0173 486777 or email

Amicable Divorce: Tips for a Successful Settlement

Divorce. Often a time of difficult and heavy decisions about your future, so it can be a daunting and stressful prospect.  Not only does it involve a legally binding union, but it often brings emotional turmoil and financial stress.

It is essential to approach a divorce with an understanding of the legal system and tools and techniques that can help make the process smoother for both parties.

This article provides tips for navigating a smooth and amicable divorce.

What is amicable divorce?

An amicable divorce or separation is one in which you both work together to reach a favourable outcome. Rather than trying to score points or hurt one another, you both compromise and work toward the best result for you and your family.

Understand that the marriage breakup can have impacts on the people around you

    Divorce can have a significant impact on the people around you, including family members, friends, and especially children. Divorce can be particularly challenging for any children involved in the family unit. They may experience a range of emotions such as confusion, sadness, anger, and guilt. It can disrupt their sense of stability and security, leading to changes in behaviour, academic performance, and social interactions.

    Gather a positive support network

    For several reasons, having a positive support network is crucial when going through a divorce. Divorce is an emotionally challenging process. Having a supportive network of family, friends, or even support groups can provide a safe space to express your feelings, vent frustrations, and receive empathy and understanding. It helps you navigate the rollercoaster of emotions that come with the divorce process.

    Be clear and kind.

    Your emotions are running high—don’t let them get the better of you. You may be tempted to let your heart rule your head here. Communicate with your spouse as you would want to be communicated with.

    Leave the threats at the door.

    Heartbreak can do strange things to people.

    When you’re mourning the loss of your relationship, you may find yourself throwing out ultimatums left, right, and centre. Don’t make that mistake. This rarely works as an approach and often leads to the spouses becoming more rigid and alienated and ends up in litigation.

    Make sure to understand the financial implications.

    Divorce can have significant financial implications for both parties.

    It is essential to understand the total costs associated with a divorce and budget accordingly. It includes legal fees, court costs, child custody arrangements, and the division of assets acquired during the marriage.

    Stay active

    Remaining physically active during a divorce can help you manage stress better. Exercise increases endorphins, which are chemicals that induce feelings of happiness. Regular physical activity also helps improve sleep and mental clarity while boosting self-confidence and moods.

    We always aim to help our clients towards a fair, respectful solution, and preserve family relationships as far as possible. Contact us today for an initial conversation about your matter. 

    01753 486 777 or

    How to best co-parent during a divorce

    Divorce is a very difficult time for everyone involved, but it is essential that you make your decisions according to how your children are feeling so that you can co parent in a way that actively suits both yourselves and your children.  They will have all sorts of emotions, from confusion to fear to guilt. Keeping the children in the best physical and emotional health should be the parents’ paramount responsibility. But it can be hard.

    Your marriage may be over, but your family is not; acting in your kids’ best interest is your most important priority. That is why we have developed a quick guide on how to ease the co-parenting process.

    Don’t hinder your child’s relationship with your ex-partner

    Try not to negatively discuss the divorce to your children and do not communicate negatively to your ex-partner through your child. This will affect the relationship that both you and your ex-partner have with your child. Although this may seem difficult, remember that you should always have the happiness of your children at the forefront of your mind.

    Improve communication with your co-parent

    Peaceful, consistent, and purposeful communication with your ex is essential to the success of co-parenting, even though it may seem impossible. Before having contact with your ex, ask yourself how your actions will affect your child, and resolve to conduct yourself with dignity. Make your child the focal point of every discussion you have with your ex-partner.

    Make transitions and visitation easier

    The actual move from one household to another, whether it happens every few days or just certain weekends, can be a very hard time for children. While transitions are unavoidable, there are many things you can do to help make them easier on your children.

    Help children anticipate change – Remind kids they’ll be leaving for the other parent’s house a day or two before the visit.

    Pack in advanceDepending on their age, help children pack their bags well before they leave so that they don’t forget anything they’ll miss. Encourage packing familiar reminders like a special stuffed toy or photograph.

    Seek out the relevant support

    If you continue to struggle throughout the co-parenting process, then you may need to seek out the relevant professional support for you, your ex-partner, and your children, such as counsellors, family therapy, educational and child psychologists.

    If you are currently experiencing family issues or need some legal advice, then please contact us to arrange an appointment on 01753 486 777

    Making arrangements for children this Christmas.

    The question of where, and with whom, children will spend Christmas can be a difficult one for any separated parents. With Christmas fast approaching, now’s the time to agree how your children will spend time with their other parent during the holidays.

    There are no set rules for how you should approach child arrangements over Christmas but we thought it may be helpful to share with you how we have seen clients approach this in the past.

    Here are some of our top tips…

    1. Keep your children at the heart of your decision making

    Try to focus on what is important for your children and their needs. It can be easy for the desires of each parent to cloud their judgement about what would be in the best interests of the children on the day.

    • Communicate

    During any part of important decision making, communication with the relevant people included in the matter is key. Talk openly about what both parents would like to see happen over the Christmas break and work from there to formulate your plans.

    • Stick to the plan

    Last minute changes can cause feelings of disruption and uncertainty for children. It is important to maintain consistency and provide stability. It is essential that whatever arrangements you come to, you both stick to the plan.

    • Think about wider family

    Try to be pragmatic about where and when the families will be together and include that in your decision making. There is still an opportunity to bring wider family members into the bubble. This can include grandparents, aunts, and uncles etc.

    • Get advice early, if needed

    At Aston Bond we understand that Christmas can be chaotic and organising co-parenting schedules on top of everything else is never going to be easy, especially if communication between you and your ex-partner is difficult.

    If you are struggling this year, take advice from our very own family lawyer Lynette A’Court on who can try to assist in negotiating an agreement. 

    Why Parties Should Apply For Decree Absolute With Caution

    The document most parties look forward to receiving is their Decree Absolute.   This is the final document in Divorce Proceedings and legally ends a marriage in England and Wales.    However, this does not bring an end to the parties’ financial claims unless the parties have already agreed the financial aspect of their case and have agreed a Consent Order which has or is to be submitted to the Court for sealing.


    If parties fail to deal with the financial issues and do not obtain a Court Order with a Clean Break,  where possible, none of their respective claims are dismissed under statute and either party may make an application for Financial Orders in the future which can be very distressing, especially if the parties have entered into a new relationship or even remarried.


    The party may lose some or all of their rights in respect of future claims against their ex-spouse.  Thus parties should not remarry however tempting until they have a sealed Court Order in respect of their financial settlement.


    The Financial proceedings in a divorce case come to an end upon their spouse’s death.   It would then be necessary for them to commence proceedings under the Inheritance Provision (for Family and Dependents) Act 1975 on behalf of themselves or children of the family but they would have to show a need and these proceedings are expensive.


    If Decree Nisi has been pronounced but no application has been made for Decree Absolute then the surviving spouse will be entitled to all of the benefits that they are entitled to as a widow or widower.

    This means that certain assets may only be transferred to the deceased party’s spouse.  Prime examples are pension funds and sometimes trust funds.   

    If you wish to discuss applying for Decree Absolute or obtaining a Financial Settlement please do not hesitate to telephone our Senior Family Solicitor Lynette A’Court on 07754662438 for your free initial consultation.

    Domestic Abuse & Coercive Behaviour

    A number of parties either married, in a civil partnership or cohabiting tolerate coercive control by their partner and a number of parties do not even know what coercive control is or what remedies are available to them.

    Coercive Control is:

    An act or a pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation, intimidation and other abuse which is used by a party to harm, punish or frighten their victim.

    Or as the Home Office has said, ‘A purposeful pattern of behaviour which takes place over time in order for one individual to exert power, control or coercion over another’.


    •  A common sign is where a party seeks to isolate their partner from their friends or family
    • Seeks to control the life of the other party.
    • Seeks to control the families’ finances
    • Repeatedly degrades the other party in public or in front of family members
    • Must see any communication the other party has.

    A prime example of coercive control is where one party informs the other that their relationship is at an end and where the other party threatens that they will report the party ending the relationship to the Local Authority and they will ensure the party ending the relationship loses their children.

    If you are in such a relationship then an application may be made to the Court for an Injunction to prevent this behaviour.  Parties should not tolerate such relationships and it especially harmful to children living in a household where coercive behaviour is being tolerated by a party.

    Coercive Behaviour is also a crime

    In 2015 The Serious Crime Act was introduced and coercive behaviour became an offence.  Thus as well as taking civil proceedings for an injunction the matter may be reported to the police who may bring a prosecution against the party using coercive behaviour.

    We sincerely hope you are not a victim of coercive control.   However, in the event that you are please do not hesitate to telephone our Senior Family Solicitor Lynette A’Court on 07754662438 for your free initial consultation.

    Child Arrangements Since the Relaxation of Lockdown Rules

    Even though lockdown rules have now been relaxed parents must carefully consider how they approach spending time with their children.

    In practice the rule is ‘where possible that Child Arrangements Orders should be complied with but parents must act sensibly’.   In deciding the best way forward parents must take into account their children’s health, the risk of infection in the area where they reside, whether an individual in one of the households is a vulnerable adult.  If the parent with whom the children resides is a vulnerable adult or if a parent is working for the NHS or in an environment where they are at risk of infection, the parents may decide it is safer for the children to have contact via facetime or zoom until the pandemic is over.  The child’s safety is paramount.

    It is very important at all times that parents put their children first and not their own personal wishes.

    If any parent has any concerns about having coronavirus symptoms, the NHS operates an online coronavirus checker.  Anyone with symptoms must self-isolate for 7 days.  Anyone who lives with a symptomatic person must self- isolate for 14 days.   If parties have major concerns over coronavirus they should dial 999 and seek assistance whether this relates to their children or themselves.

    If any parents have concerns over Child Arrangements our Senior Family Solicitor Lynette A’Court will be happy to assist. She may be contacted on 07754662438.

    Children and Home-Schooling During Lockdown

    During the current lockdown children’s schooling can be a major worry and concern for some parents. The government guidelines are that during lockdown there should be flexibility between parents over schooling even where a Child Arrangements Order is in place. Parents should be looking at what is in the best interest of the children. The parents should decide how the children will spend their day and in particular how their school work should take place during this unsettling time. Some parents decide that they should not depart from the Child Arrangements Order which is currently in place. However they should not do this if there are going to be problems over their children’s schooling.  They must put their children’s schooling first. In the event that parents cannot reach an agreement and as a result the children are not receiving their schooling at home an application may be made to the Family Court for a Specific Issue Order to deal with this problem. However such an application must be made as a last resort. Once papers are issued at Court a date will be fixed and a District Judge will usually order a remote court hearing. This is where the hearing is conducted by telephone so parties do not have to attend Court but all parties are connected to the same telephone conference call.   The District Judge will then introduce his or herself and explain that the conference call must not be recorded and then the case will proceed.

    In the event that you are having problems over your children’s schooling or indeed any other problems relating to children’s arrangements please do not hesitate to telephone Lynette A’Court our Senior Family Solicitor on 07754662438 who will be able to assist you.

    Domestic Abuse During Lockdown

    Unfortunately with many spouses, partners and children being in the same households for considerable periods of time tensions often run high and domestic abuse can occur.  

    Spouses/Partners in Domestic Violence situations should ensure to maintain daily contact with family and friends via social media or telephone. They should also consider devising a code if they are unable to talk.  The code for example could be for a family member or friend to contact the local police or the spouse/partner’s solicitor. 

    On the 26th March, 2020 THE HEALTH AND PROTECTION (CORONAVIRUS RESTRICTIONS) ENGLAND REGULATIONS 2020)  came into force.  These regulations specify situations which amount to a reasonable excuse to leave home.  The most relevant in so far as domestic violence is concerned are as follows:-

    Regulation h)  To fulfil a  legal obligation, including attending Court or satisfying bail conditions or to participate in legal proceedings.

    Regulation i)     To access critical public services, including services provided to victims

    Regulation m)    To avoid injury or illness or to escape a risk of harm


    If the circumstances you are living in are dire and you fear for your safety and the safety of the children as well as contacting the police you can contact a Solicitor, Lynette Ann A’Court of Aston Bond will be able to assist you to make an application to Court under PART IV OF THE FAMILY LAW ACT 1996  to apply for:

    1.  A Non –Molestation Order to prevent your spouse/partner  from using violence against your children or yourself.  There are also a number of other orders which can be obtained, including preventing your spouse/partner from threatening harassing or pestering you.
    2.  In extreme cases an Occupation Order can be made ordering your spouse/partner from the Family home.
    3. In the event that your spouse/partner breaches Orders made by the Court he can be committed to prison for contempt of Court.

    The courts are still available to hear urgent applications in respect of non- molestation orders and occupation orders.

    The Court staff, judiciary, barristers and solicitors are key worker and are there to assist members of the public.

    Usually the hearings are dealt with remotely by telephone. Such cases are classified as High risk and are dealt with as a matter of urgency.

    If you are suffering abuse please do not hesitate to contact our senior family solicitor lynette Ann A’Court on 07754662438 to discuss your concerns and she will then advise the best way to try to resolve the position for you and put you in a much better place.

    Family Courts During Lockdown

    Urgent Family Matters

    The Court Services are listing matters in accordance with how urgent the case.

    Cases which are considered to be urgent and take priority are:-

    1. Child abduction 
    2. If you consider that a child is at risk of harm
    3. If you have been harmed or are at immediate risk of harm

    In the above circumstances, urgent applications may be made to the Court and the listing of these matters will be heard prior to the ordinary court family business.

    Application for Child Arrangements Orders

    These are applications where the parties have a dispute over the Arrangements for the Children.   The hearings have been categorised by the Courts as the ‘will be done category’.  These will be allocated to a District Judge or Magistrates for hearing as soon as possible but will not be classified as urgent.   However, if there are problems over the Children’s Arrangements parents should not be put off instructing their solicitor to issue proceedings, as these cases will be heard by the Court but the procedure will take a little longer than normal.

    Divorce and Financial Remedy Proceedings

    The issuing of Divorce Petitions again fall into the ‘will be done category’.   This means they will be done as soon as possible after the urgent Court business has been dealt with.     It does not mean that you should delay instructing your solicitor to issue your Divorce Petition when you are distressed as a result of the breakdown of your marriage.   The matter will still be dealt with by the Court but will not be prioritised.   However, at least having issued the proceedings you will be aware that the matter is progressing.

    Financial Remedy Applications

    Such Applications again fall into the ‘will be done category’.     It is often useful to have voluntary disclosure by way of the Form used by the Court, namely Form E, to provide full financial disclosure to the parties solicitors to see if agreement can be reached prior to issuing an Application for a Financial Order.     In the event that agreement is reached the matter may be resolved by way of a Consent Order made by the Court which incorporates the terms of the agreement which has been reached by the parties.    Also in some cases parties attend mediation to reach an agreed settlement but it is very important that if the mediation route is taken both parties must be willing to mediate.   If parties are living under the same roof in a very unhappy atmosphere the current pandemic should not hold parties back from issuing proceedings even though such proceedings will take a little longer than usual.

    Remote Hearings

    Except when there are exceptional circumstances all Court Hearings are heard remotely.   This can be via video link, skype or telephone.    The Court will usually make an Order that the case will be heard remotely. The writer has dealt with a number of telephone remote hearings which seems to be preferred method used by most of the Family Court’s at present.      The Court usually facilitate the Remote Hearing but in certain circumstances, the parties solicitor’s have to arrange the hearing.    It is necessary for the parties and their solicitors or counsel to provide their telephone contact details to the Court.       A fixed time will be given by the Court for the Remote Hearing and the parties will be called and will be invited to join the hearing.   The Judge will then introduce his or herself or in the event that the case is heard by Magistrates, the Magistrates’ clerk will introduce his or herself and also the Magistrates.  The case will then proceed as it would have done in Court but over the telephone.   The writer has found that these hearings work well and some parties prefer it as they are not intimidated by being in the formal Court Building and are sitting in the comfort of their own home.   However parties will be warned that no other person may listen to the proceedings neither is anyone permitted to record the proceedings.   In accordance with the Court’s normal practice the proceedings will be recorded by the Court.      

    Can Aston Bond help with your worries and concerns about any of the above matters?

    If you have any concerns relating to children’s disputes please do not hesitate to contact Lynette-Ann A’Court – Senior Family Solicitor at Aston Bond for your free initial interview

    Mobile: – 07754662438 Email –