Custody Dispute Solicitors – All you need to know

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When a couple is divorcing or separating, emotions are already at an all-time high. When the matter of child custody is introduced, feelings can become even more complicated. Not all separating couples can amicably agree on the arrangements for their children following the split, and child custody disputes arise.

In such disputes, experienced child custody solicitors can be invaluable, assisting with negotiations whilst putting the best interests of the child at the forefront. 

If you are in search of an expert child custody dispute lawyer to assist with reaching an agreement on the custody of your children, then Expert Family Law can help. Get in touch today to find out how our panel of legal professionals can assist with your case.

What is a custody dispute?

A custody dispute is a legal disagreement between parents or guardians regarding the custody, care, and visitation rights of their child or children. The dispute may arise when parents are separated, divorced, or unmarried and cannot agree on the arrangements for the upbringing of their children.

Parents may have disagreements about deciding where the children live, how much time with each parent the child spends, and who has authority over making important decisions in the child’s upbringing, such as education and healthcare.

Custody disputes can be emotionally challenging for all parties involved, especially for the children. The legal process aims to prioritize the best interests of the child, and courts may consider various factors when making decisions, such as the parent’s ability to provide a stable home, the child’s relationship with each parent, and any history of abuse or neglect.

What is a child arrangement order?

A Child Arrangement Order is a legal order in the United Kingdom that determines the living arrangements, contact, and other specific issues related to a child when parents are separated, divorced, or unmarried. The order outlines how the child’s time will be divided between their parents or other significant caregivers. The Child Arrangement Order replaced the previous terms “residence order” and “contact order” under the Children and Families Act 2014.

Key aspects of Child Arrangement Orders include:

  • Residence and Contact: Instead of using the terms “custody” or “visitation,” the order specifies with whom the child will live (formerly referred to as a residence order) and how the child spends time with the non-residential parent or another person (formerly referred to as a contact order).
  • Parental Responsibility: The order may also address parental responsibility, which includes decision-making authority for important aspects of the child’s life, such as education, healthcare, and religion.
  • Best Interests of the Child: The court’s primary consideration when making a Child Arrangement Order is the best interests of the child. The court will take into account various factors, including the child’s emotional and physical needs, the child’s age and maturity, the capacity of each parent to meet the child’s needs, and any potential risks or harm.
  • Specific Issues Orders: In addition to general living arrangements, a Child Arrangement Order can address specific issues, such as schooling, medical treatment, or travel arrangements.
  • Parental Agreement or Court Order: Child Arrangement Orders can be made by agreement between the parents and approved by the court. However, if a parenting plan cannot be agreed upon, the court may need to make the decision based on evidence presented during legal proceedings.
  • Enforcement: Child Arrangement Orders are legally binding, and failure to comply with the terms of the order may result in enforcement actions. The court can take various measures to ensure compliance, including fines or community service.

How are custody disputes resolved?

Parents are encouraged to resolve custody disputes through negotiation or mediation wherever possible, as this can be less adversarial and more focused on finding solutions that work for everyone involved. If an agreement cannot be reached through alternative dispute resolution methods, the matter may proceed to family court, where a judge will make a determination based on the evidence presented.

It is worth noting that mediation is required as a first step in most circumstances, but cases involving domestic abuse do not need to have face-to-face mediation meetings and can progress straight to court proceedings.

Why choose Expert Family Law?

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 custody disputes, child arrangement disputes and obtaining Orders from the Court if the dispute cannot be resolved between the parents or through the process of mediation.

Additionally, our panel of fixed-fee family solicitors offer a range of family services relating to the process of divorce and financial settlements following the breakdown of a marriage or civil partnership (ancillary relief). We can also provide advice on domestic violence cases and child maintenance disputes.

We ensure that the experienced family lawyers from law firms on our panel have the skills required to assist with 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 custody dispute solicitor could help with your case.

 

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