When your parents split up they will have to make very important decisions about their future and yours. The decision that most affects you will concern who will live with you for most of the time (called residence) and how often you will see the parent who does not live with you (called contact).
Often the decision about who you will live with can be made by your parents together but occasionally if parents can’t agree they have to use a mediator. A mediator helps each parent to talk about his or her feelings and put their case forward for what should happen in your future.
If they still cannot agree, each parent can ask a lawyer to speak on their behalf and ask a Judge to decide. A Judge or Magistrate listens to both of your parents and comes to a decision for them.
Depending on your age, a Cafcass Children and Families Reporter will come and ask you what your feelings are on the issues in your family. Try to be honest if they ask you questions. It will help everyone to make the best decision.
Questions You May Have
When you find your parents are splitting up you will probably have some worries about the future. This is completely normal and an important part of moving forward in your family life.
Below are some questions you may have:
- Who am I going to live with?
- Will we have to move house?
- Will I have to change schools and leave my friends?
- Who is going to look after my pet?
- What will happen at Birthdays and Christmas.
- Will I have to choose between my parents?
- Can I still see mum/dad if they leave home?
- Will I live with my brothers/sisters?
Try to find time to talk to your parents about your worries and make sure you let them know your views. Your parents will need to know what you think to help them make decisions, and you will feel that you have had your say and been listened to.
If it helps, write your questions down before you speak to them – this keep things clear. They may not be able to give you an answer straight away but they can then keep you up to date on the changes happening in your lives.