Child Custody Law
Lots of people talk about child custody, but there is no such thing as child custody any more in English Law, and hasn’t been for more than 30 years!
What people mean when they talk about “custody” can be two different, but important, things:
- What the arrangements are for the child’s care, how he or she will divide their time between their parents (this is known as Child Arrangements);
- Decision making – having the right to information and to have a say on important issues in the child’s upbringing (this is known as parental responsibility)
From the child’s perspective, joint custody usually works out best, as the child can spend an equal amount of time with both parents. This also helps when making key decisions in the child’s life.
If neither of you can agree on child arrangements, then you should try Mediation before taking matters through the Court.
To help you reach an amicable solution and resolve your disputes, our specialist Family Law Solicitors can recommend and help you gain access to Mediation services.
For initial advice get in touch with our Child Law Solicitors today.
Putting Children’s Interests First
Children can be deeply affected by divorce or separation, and they can develop feelings of sadness, anxiety and anger. They can feel as though the divorce is their fault and can be unsure whether the separation is temporary or permanent.
It is important that as parents, you try to minimize the amount of conflict between you and try to support each other. A parenting plan is useful in this instance, and the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass) can help put a plan in place.
They will make sure that the child’s voice is heard so any decisions made are in the child’s best interests.
Making Child Arrangements in Divorce
Sorting out child living arrangements can lead to an emotionally charged situation, and coming to an agreement can be problematic.
You and your partner can avoid going through a difficult Court process if you can both agree on certain arrangements for your child. These would include:
- Where the child lives
- How much time they will spend with each parent (including holiday time)
- How you’ll financially support your children
- How and where they should go to school
- How any issues relating to their health should be addressed
This is best done through a process known as Mediation, and one of our Family Solicitors can be present if you wish to make the agreement legally binding. At the same time, you can also agree on child maintenance, but this can also be done separately.