Child Custody Lawyers: Your Child’s Residence
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When going through the breakdown of a relationship or divorce proceedings, the issue of child custody is an important but difficult decision that must be made. Both parents should attempt to work together to decide who the child or children will live with, how much contact the other parent will have, and how the contact will take place.
If parents are unable to reach an agreement regarding living arrangements and contact arrangements for their children, they may require legal support and advice from a family law specialist to help them navigate their arrangements in a way that benefits both parents and the children. Our expert legal panel of child custody solicitors can provide the advice and assistance you need.
Having good child custody lawyers in place can make all the difference and will ensure your children feel secure, safe and wanted, whilst helping parents come to the right decision whilst keeping your children’s needs at the heart of all specific issues and decisions.
When going through a divorce or the breakdown of a relationship, your top priority should be agreeing to care arrangements for your children. Every family is different, and there will be no right or wrong answers when coming to an agreement as to child arrangements. Legal rights and responsibilities will be afforded to anyone with parental responsibility towards the children, regardless of whether the children live with the parent (resident parent) or not.
Having a set agreement as to when parents will spend time with children, and ensuring parents stick to the agreement is key to ensuring the happiness and emotional stability of the children.
When deciding upon childcare arrangements, parents should always put their differences aside to come up with the best possible decision for the children. Parents may wish to consider mediation, and if the children are old enough, they may wish to get involved and share their wishes through a mediator, who is an impartial third party.
If parents cannot agree to custody and child arrangements, they should seek legal advice from an experienced solicitor to help them come to a mutually agreeable decision.
Child custody lawyers – FAQ’s
Who should a child live with when parents separate?
There is no right or wrong answer to this question. Parents should attempt to decide between themselves who the child should live with based on a number of factors. Parents may decide to have children living with both parents on a 50/50 basis. A Residency Order can be put in place at a Court hearing to determine who the child will live with.
A resident parent is the parent who the children live with for the majority of the time. The other parent will usually have contact which is agreed between parents, through mediation, or in some circumstances, a Judge will provide a Court order which states how and how often the other parent will have contact.
Both parents will usually have parental responsibility, unless a Court order states otherwise. When both parents have parental responsibility, this means that they have equal rights and responsibilities towards the children.
Equal rights mean that parents have an equal say in how the children are raised; some of the main issues that parents may need to agree upon include education and medical treatment, religion etc. Parents will also be unable to take children out of the country without the agreement of the other parent.
The Court has discretion under the Custody of Children Act when making a child arrangement order and will take factors, such as the conduct of the parents when making a decision on custody and child contact in the best interests of the child or children.
When is a child arrangement order required?
A Child Arrangement Order is often required in child custody cases when parents are unable to come to an agreement through mediation, collaboration, or discussions. When this type of order is required, the Court will determine the arrangements and they will be legally binding.
To obtain a child arrangement Order, a C100 Form should be submitted to the Family Court alongside the appropriate fee. A C1A form should also be completed if you have suffered from domestic violence, or if you and your children are in threat of harm.
What is a Residence Order?
A Residence Order will determine where the children will live and when they will live there. There are two types of Residence Orders, Joint Residency Orders and Standard Contact orders.
If a Joint Residency Order is made, both parents will be allowed equal time with the child and they will have equal rights when making decisions for the child.
If a Standard Contact Order is made, one parent will be the primary resident parent and the other will have defined times when they have access to the child. Both parents will still have equal rights and responsibilities, regardless of how much access each parent has.
Joint Residency Orders usually work best when both parents live in close proximity to avoid disruption to the child’s life. However; every family is different and this type of order may not work well for all circumstances.
Can a non-parent obtain a Residency Order?
In some circumstances, someone who is not the parent of the child may obtain a Residency Order in special circumstances, such as the death of a parent, or if the parents are unable to care for the children.
What What is child maintenance?
Money is quite often the cause of arguments between separating parents. Disputes regarding money and child support are usually better resolved using a mediator or through the co operation of parties without the need to involve a Judge. Costs associated with raising children should be considered when negotiating maintenance payments. Some of the main items that should be considered include:
- School uniforms, equipment, trips, extra tuition
- School or nursery fees
- Travel costs
- Pocket money
- Birthday presents and parties
- Mobile phones
A decision must be made on who will pay for the expenses and how the payments will be made. In some circumstances, one parent will give money to the other, or they may agree to pay a regular amount into a bank account. A maintenance agreement should be reviewed regularly to meet the changing needs of your children.
Maintenance decisions can be made between parties and submitted to Court to make them legally binding, or they can be written into an agreement and recorded with your solicitor.
The Child Maintenance Service (CMS) can also be used which involves the residing parent receiving payments from the other parent. The level of payment will depend on the paying parent’s income, how often the child stays with them, and whether maintenance is being paid for any other children.
How can our panel of child custody lawyers assist on your case?
Following the breakdown of a relationship, child custody should be your main concern. Child custody solicitors can assist in negotiations between parents, arranging mediation and advising on when an application to the court should be made. A child arrangement solicitor will also guide you through the process of applying to the court and will provide representation for your case.
When disputes arise between parents, it can be helpful to have someone outside of the relationship to help you navigate through the conflict and provide you with the best advice on moving forward, keeping the needs of your children at the forefront.
They can also provide advice to parents for meeting the terms of the order and assistance when these terms have not been met.
We understand that disputes involving children and their care can be incredibly complex and sensitive. The solicitors on our panel can provide you with the best advice and assistance on resolving child arrangement disputes and obtaining Orders from the Court if the dispute cannot be resolved between the parents or through the process of mediation.
As well as assisting with child arrangements, our panel of family law solicitors can also advise and assist on the process of divorce and the division of assets following the breakdown of a marriage or civil partnership (ancillary relief).
We ensure that the family law solicitors on our panel have the skills and experience required to assist on your legal case. We can assure you that your case will be dealt with in a compassionate and understanding manner.
Get in touch today using the form at the top of the page to find out if a child arrangement solicitor from our panel could help on your case.
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