If your relationship has broken down irretrievably and you’ve applied for divorce, family lawyers will no doubt have told you what the law is concerning your children. While it is easy to get a divorce these days with no one having to prove fault, if there are minor children of the marriage, a divorce won’t be given unless you can prove that proper arrangements have been made for their care.
While you may think this seems silly, in these days of much drug-taking it cannot be certain that either parent is fit to take care of children, especially while they are toddlers. At least older children can get a meal for themselves, but of course, childcare is much more than looking after a child’s physical needs. So the judge has to make sure that one of the parents is a suitable carer, or that other satisfactory arrangements have been made for the children.
Another problem with caring for children could be that the prime carer will be going to work and won’t be able to spend a lot of time with the children. There has to be someone else available to see to those children’s needs, whether it is a relative, trusted friend or a long day-care centre.
Traditionally, the mother was given care of the children. This is because the father was the one to go out to work while the mother stayed at home to care for the children. These days this is not always the case. Sometimes it is the father who stays at home to look after the children and the mother goes back to work – or both parents may be employed. Or it could be that neither of the parents work.
Once you’ve been separated for 12 months and have applied for a divorce, the judge will take all your details into consideration in making his or her decision about your divorce. You need to be able to prove that your children will be well taken care of if you want the divorce to be approved.
The best way to do this is to discuss it with your ex. Often, children stay with their mother through the school week and go to their father on the weekend. However, this deprives the mother of leisure time with her children. She may feel that she has all the work of getting them off to school, picking them up and ensuring they do their homework, and none of the pleasure that they could have over the weekend.
On the other hand the father may feel that all his leisure time must be spent caring for children instead of having some fun of his own. For that reason, the visiting rights may be for every second weekend, or whatever else is suitable for the situation.