If you've reached the end of a relationship and you have children, there are several things to consider in the processing of your separation.

The first thing that you need to be aware of in any kind of separation, whether it be amicable or contentious, is the interests of the children. The well being of the children should be the main priority for all parties involved in the separation process.

Through my experience as a family lawyer, I have noticed that when matters are amicable between parties, they don't need as much help with parenting issues. People who are ending their relationship on better terms are often able to work out a reasonable arrangement that they can live with. Both people typically seem to be on the same page in terms of what's in the best interests of the children. 

If there is tension or difficulty between the parties, a mediator could be useful to try and work out some of the issues. However, in a very acrimonious divorce, those issues might be much more acute in terms of their urgency. In these situations, it might be necessary to go to court early on to attain orders to protect the children. 

In some situations, children are at risk of harm, whether it be due to substance abuse issues, family violence, or other.  It would be my advice in that type of case to not waste time in dealing with those issues. Speak with an experienced family lawyer right away and try and resolve the issue as quickly as possible.

Doug Simpson is a partner at CBM Lawyers where he exclusively practices Family Law. Doug believes that each client has a unique set of needs and strives to find the best legal solution for each client on a case by case basis. Learn more about Doug here.