Family Law Solicitors Newcastle and Sunderland

The kids are alright… aren’t they?

Collaborative Family Lawyer

If you have recently separated from your partner you may be reeling with shock and trying to make sense of your life. However, your children may also be very confused and upset without you realising. Children can be very good at hiding how they feel, if they know that you are in pain they may put on a brave face so that they don’t upset you further.

Resolution, an association of family lawyers has some really useful information on its website, see Planning Life. There are suggestions as to how to make life easier for your children.

There are some themes that, as a Collaborative Family Lawyer, I deal with on a regular basis. Eg. Tom was very distressed because his ex-partner wouldn’t let him see his son Nathan very often. Upon further investigation it transpired that Nathan had scouts on a Monday, was with a child-minder on Tuesday, went swimming on a Wednesday, you get the picture. With some planning ahead and cooperation between parents, the picture could look different. Tom could leave work early on a Tuesday and collect Nathan from school instead of the child-minder. He could then stay for tea and return home early evening. If school is close enough why couldn’t Nathan stay the night at Tom’s house and be dropped off at school the next morning?

More importantly, shouldn’t Nathan’s parents ask him what he would like? Then together a timetable could be planned.

Another situation that occurs frequently is when a parent says that they are coming to take the children out. The children are excited, they are ready and waiting and Mum or Dad just doesn’t show up. Children then become very distressed and even more confused. That parent often doesn’t seem to appreciate the impact that this can have on a child.

It is important to try to sort out differences and make plans as soon as possible. It is not always necessary to end up in protracted court proceedings. You could try Collaborative Law (meet our team at This is where you meet with your solicitor, your ex-partner and their solicitor. You agree an agenda before the first meeting and you each sign an agreement stating that it is your intention to agree matters without resorting to court. If you can’t reach agreement and want to issue court proceedings then you must instruct a new solicitor. Some people don’t like the idea of having to instruct a new solicitor and so won’t sign the agreement. If this is the case then all is not lost, you can still attempt to negotiate at roundtable meetings with your ex-partner and both solicitors present.

Whichever route you choose, these meetings can be very helpful. You will have an opportunity to say your bit. In one case recently, it was the first time that a mother had had the chance to say how she and the children felt since her husband had abruptly left the family home to live with another woman. She explained that the children felt abandoned by their father, they never got to see him without his new partner present and they felt that he did not come to see them often enough. They were starting to vote with their feet and say that they didn’t wish to see their father. As a result of this meeting, dad took stock of the situation and rearranged things so that frequently when he saw the children it was without his partner present. A plan was agreed as to when the children and their father would meet.

Sorting things out face to face and in a controlled environment can lead to some very good outcomes for all concerned, especially your children.

Client Feedback:

“After being in the legal field and having rubbed shoulders with the cream of the crop of firms, I decided to use a local firm myself for child contact issues. I met your lawyer who was extremely well versed in this format of law. He was a good listener and kept the whole process as simple and diplomatic as possible. I would never have known he was a Trainee, he seems to be working the circuit like an old pro. Thanks guys for all of your help, regards Usman”.


If you need help with your divorce or separation, then why not contact us for a Next Steps Divorce Advice Session and to see how we can help you. We can be contacted on:

Family Law Specialists Solicitors Newcastle:  0191 284 6989

Family Law Specialists Solicitors Sunderland: 0191 567 6667

or email us:

Or complete our Online Enquiry Form and select Family Law


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