Does the Parent with More Money Get Custody of the Children?
In England and Wales the Courts always prioritises the best interest of the child when deciding who will get child custody. Your children need to be financially supported, but the Court will consider the child’s other needs before making a decision about where your child will live.
Where possible, a Court will look to put in to place a Shared Care Arrangement (joint custody), where this is in the best interests of the child. This ensures that the child can maintain a strong relationship with both parents.
Navigating child custody issues can be a difficult and uncertain time for parents, especially if you’ve recently divorced your partner and your finances have been affected by this. Settling disputes in Court will be a much greater financial cost than coming to an agreement through mediation or with a Divorce Solicitor.
For initial advice on resolving a child custody dispute get in touch with our Family and Child Law Solicitors.
How Does the Court Decide Who Gets Child Custody?
There are certain things that the Court take into consideration when deciding who gets child custody and where the child should live. The Court understands that just because one parent has more money, it doesn’t mean that they may be the best person for the child to live with. The Court also considers:
- The child’s wishes and feelings
- How the changes may affect the child
- The child’s age, gender, characteristics and background
- Any possible risk of harm to the child
- The child’s physical and emotional needs
- The educational needs of the child
- Ability of the parents to meet the child’s needs
Ideally, a Court would put a Shared Care Arrangement in place, as being able to spend time with both parents is generally in most children’s best interests. We understand that every case is different and our specialist Family and Child Law Solicitors will tailor our service to your needs and circumstances.
How to Get Full Custody of Your Child
The Court are often reluctant to prevent one parent from seeing their child indefinitely. To do this the Court would need to see clear evidence that the other parent is unfit to look after the child, or if the child is at risk of harm, for example if one parent has shown abusive behaviour. Even then, they may allow the other parent to have supervised visits with the child.
If you cannot agree on who will have custody of your child and you have tried mediation, you will need to apply for a Child Arrangement Order. This determines where the child will live and how much contact the child will have with each parent.
We can help you apply for a Child Arrangement Order or you can apply yourself. You will need to download and fill in a C100 form. HM Government provide guidance on how to do this on gov.co.uk, but it is recommended that you get legal advice from a Family and Child Law Solicitor beforehand.
When applying for a Child Arrangement Order, you will need to prove that you have tried to agree with the other parent through mediation first. The Court fee to apply for a Child Arrangement Order is £215.
Why Might a Court Not Allow Joint Custody
It is very rare that the Court won’t allow a parent to see their child at all. If this is the case, it is likely to be because one parent has shown signs of abuse or that they may harm the child in some way.
A Court may not always order a Shared Care Arrangement. Sometimes they order that a child must live with one parent and spend time with another. This means that time is not always equally split between both parents. For example, the Child Arrangement Order might outline that one parent only sees the child just one or two days a week.
Unless one parent has a negative impact on the child’s wellbeing, the Court will rarely exclude one parent entirely from the child’s life.
If you need help with a Child Arrangement Order, get in touch with our Family and Child Law Solicitors for legal advice tailored to your unique circumstances.
Important Things to Consider
Often it is easy to get overwhelmed during a separation or divorce and forget to put your child’s wellbeing before any disputes you may be having with your ex-partner.
Before making any decisions about where your child should live, you should consider:
- Who has the most time to look after the children and spend time with them?
- Is where you want them to live going to be convenient for them?
- How will their preferences change over time?
- What if they start at a new school, which means they have to travel long distances?
- How will you stay in touch if your children don’t live with you?
- How far away will you live from the other parent and how will this impact on the time with the children?
- How can you ensure that the children’s routine is disrupted as little as possible?
It’s important to put the child’s best interests first. If you can, you should try discussing these questions with the child’s other parent and working together to come to an agreement. If you and your ex-partner cannot agree, you will need to try and work through your disputes through mediation before you go to Court.
Court Proceedings can be long-winded and difficult for both you and your child. The cost of Court Proceedings can also be a great deal more than mediation and it will take a lot longer to reach a solution through the Court.
Our Family and Child Law Solicitors understand how stressful child custody issues can be. We will speak to you without using legal jargon and offer the best advice tailored to your and your child’s needs.
For initial legal advice call our Family Law and Divorce Solicitors
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