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When is Final Order actually 'final'?

Nov 8, 2022: 

In another article in our Modern Families FAQ series, 'When is a Final Order 'final?'', our specialist solicitors provide advice on how to deal with the situation where co-parents find themselves regularly returning to court to seek another 'final' Final Order. 

It's a very common occurrence and one that causes stress for everyone concerned, adults and children alike.  When arrangements for the care of children put in place by the Court break down it can lead to the parties returning to court for what can be multiple 'final' Orders.  It can take months, be costly and hugely impactful on the mental health of the whole family.  Nobody wants to do it, but for numerous reasons, sometimes a Final Order does not embed successfully.  It may be the case that there are breaches of the Order, from either or both parties.  This often leads to arguments, most likely revisiting historic areas of dispute and a finally a full or partial break down in the arrangements.  By the time the parties reach this point, going back to Court seems inevitable though totally unpalatable.   

However, it's a myth that the parties are tied to battling everything out via the courtroom.... again.   That simply isn't the case.  And it doesn't need to feel like a battle if both parties are genuinely open to working together.  There is sizable research evidence to support the view that arrangements agreed between parents are in fact more successful than those handed down by the court.  So, the key question becomes: "how can the parties work together to find an outcome that works?"  

The answer to that question is by no means a simple and is hugely specific to each person.  How can the gap that has developed between co-parents become bridged?  Historic upset and hurt will play its part and its extremely hard to put that to one side, but without being cliche, focusing only on what is best for the children is the best way to bring everything to a successful resolution.  Generally speaking, if the adults involved can find a way of communicating effectively in a non-combative way, that is helpful.  But to allow them to get to that point it may also be useful to engage in mediation, or a form of therapy to work through any of the underlying non-legal issues underpinning the specific matters in contention.  Even if not all of the historic relationship issues can be dealt with, at least they could be narrowed to allow the parties to focus more clearly or from a new perspective.  

There are also courses for co-parents the aim of which is to help people parent together, whilst separate.  Again, they work for some people and not others, it really is a very personal choice, but a choice that should be considered, as it may be the missing element that allows you all to move forward and put the past disputes behind you.

Some clients have found it useful to use Apps to assist them to coparent effectively, thereby avoiding the initial breakdown.  There are many on the market such as Peaceful Coparenting, Taking Parents: Co-Parents, Our Family Wizard, Fayr - Co-Parenting Simplified.   They all seek to help communication and information transfer, something that can prove difficult.  

The bottom line for anyone in this position is to look at all of the options available, speak to a member of the team who can guide you and explain the pros and cons of each option, then you will be in the best possible position to make an informed choice, that works for your family.  

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