The very public meltdown of Charlie Sheen contains the quintessential elements for a gripping Hollywood melodrama: a good deal of tension, an erratic anti-hero and a smattering of comedy. But it also has the makings of a heart breaking, personal tragedy.
On the funny side, Sheen used his presence on Twitter to advertise for an ‘intern’ to assist him through his current life adventure. The candidates were required to respond in around 140 characters. Some entertaining applications have been made.
On the other hand, it is the tragedy unfolding around his family situation that will stay with him forever.
Sheen has five children. One is grown-up and making her own way in life. The others – two girls and twin boys – are all very young. And it comes as no surprise that their respective mothers want to shield them from all the chaos that is Sheen’s life.
He wants residence (custody) of the twins again after temporarily being stripped of it. A court will decide the outcome on 22 March. It’s messy and it’s complex.
He is not alone in that. Every case involving children brings its own complexities and has its unique circumstances. After all, in each case the child’s welfare is paramount.
So what do you do if, as a father, you are seeking a residence order in respect of your children?
I would urge you to take professional advice before you do anything else. There are no neat self-help checklists to rely on – but lots to consider as you build a case which will to a large extent determine the future of your children.
It is only once you have made attempts at an amicable agreement that you can apply to the court for a Residence Order.. This is likely to be a drawn-out process involving a series of hearings. During this time the court will take into account a number of factors which will include:
- The wishes and feelings of the child (depending on his/her age and understanding)
- The child’s physical and emotional needs
- The effect that any change will have on him/her
- The child’s age, sex, background and any other characteristics which the court thinks are relevant
- Any harm that the child may suffer
- How capable each of his/her parents are of meeting his/her needs
This is a huge and emotional time for everyone concerned. And, while you may not be running it on a public stage like Charlie Sheen is doing, you’ll need strong support and advice to see you through it. It may be a long haul.