Recent statistics released by CAFCASS show that in June this year, Private Law cases (which concern issues such as with whom a child should live and how much time they should spend with their parents), rose some 9.5% compared to last year. That is 321 more cases than a year ago. This increase in work combined with the increasing pressure on the family court means that often parents seeking to resolve issues could be waiting longer for matters to be dealt with.
In such circumstances, it is even more important to seek legal advice at an early stage to explore all the options open to you and to identify whether there can be a productive way of moving matters forward. In looking at my own experience, issues around children can often arise following from a breakdown in trust and specifically communication. This becomes particularly apparent when differing parenting standards are adopted by each parent and the situation can be exacerbated when information about key areas such as medical advice and schooling are not communicated clearly.
The CAFCASS website contains parenting plans which can be used as base to build up that communication and become a very valuable tool to ensure everyone involved knows what is expected of them. The parenting plan can be found here.
A parenting plan will not work in all cases. There are some matters for which they are not suitable and court proceedings are necessary. Even if all matters cannot be agreed, however, they are at the very least a useful starting point. They can also be used even if you are in proceedings to help set up a plan or route-map for how you see matters moving forwards.