Who gets custody of child in divorce? (UK)

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Divorce is an emotionally challenging period for a family, particularly when the wellbeing and future of a child are at stake. In the UK, the concept of custody has evolved, and the emphasis is on ensuring the space for your child or children is safe, secure, and conducive to their overall well-being.

When dealing with divorce matters, our panel solicitors are often asked the question, “who gets custody of child in divorce UK?”. The answer is complex and takes many variables into account. If you would like more information on the topic from our experienced family law solicitors then please do not hesitate to get in touch with us today.

Types of Custody and Parental Responsibility

In the context of divorce in the UK, there are several types of arrangements that can be made for the care of a child. These include sole custody, where one parent takes full responsibility for the child, and joint custody, where both parents share responsibilities even if the child primarily resides with one parent.

The concept of parental responsibility is crucial here, as it pertains to the rights and obligations a parent has towards their child, covering aspects such as education, living arrangements, health, and welfare.

The Children Act 1989 is a key piece of legislation that governs how decisions about a child are made during a divorce. It emphasises that the child’s welfare is the court’s paramount consideration. This Act introduced the notion that it’s in the interests of the child to have both parents involved in their life, provided it is safe and positive for the child.

Reaching an Agreement Outside Court

Many couples are encouraged to reach an agreement about the amount of time the child will spend with each parent outside of the court. This can be done through direct discussion, mediation, or with the help of a family law solicitor. An agreement made outside of court can be made legally binding through a child arrangements order if both parties consent. This route is often less stressful for the child and can be more amicable for the parents.

However, when parents cannot agree, the case may go to the Family Court, where a judge will decide based on what they believe is in the best interests of the child. The court’s decision will then be legally binding.

Improving Your Chances of Getting Custody

For parents concerned about improving their chances of getting custody, it’s essential to understand what the courts consider. The welfare checklist of the Children Act 1989 guides judges in their decisions, focusing on the child’s physical, emotional, and educational needs, the effect any change may have on the child’s life, and how capable each parent is of meeting their needs.

To improve your chances, showing that you can provide a stable, loving environment is key. This includes having a suitable living space, demonstrating involvement in the child’s education and extracurricular activities, and facilitating the child’s relationship with the other parent. Seeking legal advice from a family law solicitor can also provide strategic guidance tailored to your situation.

Who gets custody of child in divorce UK? Legal Framework

If the case proceeds to court, the judge may issue various orders. A court order regarding child arrangements is legally binding, meaning both parents must comply with the terms set out. Non-compliance can lead to legal consequences.

The court may issue a child arrangements order, which specifies whom the child lives with (resident parents) and the contact arrangements for the non-resident parent. These orders are tailored to the child’s best interests and can include conditions and stipulations to ensure their welfare.

How can Expert Family Law assist?

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).

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.

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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