For separated parents, organisation is key when it comes to arranging contact. Whilst it’s not always easy, it’s important for parents to try and be on the same page in terms of when, where and how any contact will happen.
This week, we’re talking about the practicalities of arranging contact so that families can foster the right environment for a positive, meaningful experience.
Arrange how you’ll communicate
When looking at how contact is going to work, it helps to decide how you’re going to communicate with one another. This is particularly important if the separation or divorce is high conflict. For example, one parent might not feel comfortable talking directly to the other, so in that situation, contact via email or even writing things down in a handover book might be more appropriate.
However parents choose to communicate; what’s important is that they are actually doing so, and that everyone is kept in the loop about how the children are doing and the support they might need.
Agree a time and a place
The logistics of contact arrangements are the obvious next step. When are you going to meet, and where? Planning in advance will ensure both parents can get themselves prepared for the contact.
These kinds of arrangements will of course be unique to each individual case. There might even be a court order stipulating how this happens. It might be that a contact centre is used to facilitate contact, and if that’s the case, it’s really important to use one you can trust.
Stick to your agreements
Sticking to your agreements wherever possible is really important, especially in terms of minimising stress for the children. It keeps contact consistent, which helps to establish a routine that the children can get comfortable and familiar with.
It also demonstrates that parents care about making the contact happen, which in turn will show the children that they care about them.
Sticking to your word also minimises conflict between parents. If one parent is repeatedly rearranging or missing meetings, that can cause a lot of tension. By being reliable, parents are showing that they can cooperate in the best interests of the children, which is what really matters.
Work out what benefits you’re entitled to
If parents are worried about who needs to pay what and when, or if money is a source of contention, it makes sense to work out what your entitlements are to ensure that this isn’t interfering with contact. This will of course depend on the amount of contact being had, and each case will vary according to its individual circumstances.
If you’re unsure, it’s important to consult with an expert, whether that be a family solicitor or the Child Maintenance Service. The government website also has helpful information you can reference.
At The Starting Point Centre, it’s our job to help make meaningful contact happen. Parents and families put in the effort to make it work, and we do the same to make that effort worthwhile.
No matter the family dynamic, we provide a safe, non-judgemental, comfortable space for families to connect and adjust.
To find out more about our services, get in touch with us today, and let’s see how we can help.