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We often have enquiries from clients who cannot agree on contact for the child with their ex-partner following their separation, and this is an area that as a team we have a wealth of knowledge and experience in.

We would always recommend family mediation first as this is the best way to reach an agreement with an impartial third party there to assist you focus on the key issues in dispute and offer guidance on finding a resolution that both parties can work with. This is also a more cost-effective approach then the other options available in the resolution of child contact disputes.

However, an agreement reached through mediation is not legally binding so cannot be enforced should either party seek to renege on the agreement. It is possible to formalise the agreement by way of a child arrangement order, but this requires an application to court and the need to take such a step would be considered by your chosen lawyer and discussed with you.

Mediation is not always appropriate, including cases where there is alleged domestic abuse. Although mediation can be approached in different ways, depending on the circumstances.  Including hybrid mediation where your lawyer is also present, or shuttle mediation, where you are in a different room to your ex-partner.

If you have attempted mediation and this has proved to be unsuccessful then we can assist you in exploring the other options, including negotiations through solicitors and as a step of last resort making an application to court. We would always try and assist you in resolving any disputes without the determination of the court, but in some cases, this is just not possible, due to the acrimony between parties or complexities of the case.

The courts approach to any case would always be the best interest of the child, and as part of their determination they will consider if there are any safeguarding or welfare concerns, and then take a holistic approach in establishing what contact the child should have with both parents.

At Consilia Legal, we have a specialist team of lawyers with a wealth of experience in private children matters, who can advise and support you through the process. We also offer a family mediation service, including child inclusive mediation, at our offices in Leeds, Harrogate and London, which can be offered remotely for those further afield.

We believe we’re the best at what we do. To speak to one of our award-winning family law solicitors, you can call 0113 322 9222 or email