When considering arrangements for the children, every case is different however will always focus on what is in the best interests of the children. It is important to discuss your case early on with your family lawyer so that they can advise on your specific circumstances.
Where will the children live?
The children may live with one parent and have contact with the other parent, or there may be a shared living arrangement. If this cannot be agreed, either party can apply to court for a child arrangements order (previously known as a custody/residence order). Depending on the child's age it may be that the child's wishes are taken into account.
How often will I see the children?
Every case is different but the general approach is that both parents should have regular contact/access with the children.
What if we can't agree, do we have to go to court?
There are a number of solutions to dealing with issues concerning children. Our family lawyers will be able to write to the other party or if matters cannot be agreed, you could go to mediation. The court is generally seen as a last resort.
Do I have parental responsibility?
Parental Responsibility is a legal term that refers to the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority that go with being a parent. It has been suggested that these rights, duties, etc, include the following:-
- The right to decide upon the child's education
- The right to consent to medical treatment
- The right to discipline the child
- The right to decide the child's future
- The right to give consent to the child's marriage
- The right to have contact to the child
Parental responsibility for your child also means that you have a duty to care for and protect your child/children.
If you are the child's mother you automatically have Parental Responsibility. If you are the father of the child and are married to the child's mother you have Parental Responsibility, even if you married after the birth of the child. If you are the child's father and your child was born after 1 December 2003 and your name was registered on the birth certificate, then you automatically have parental responsibility. If you are an unmarried father or you are not named on the child's birth certificate then you will not have parental responsibility.
You can obtain parental responsibility for your children, by marrying the child's mother or by entering into a Parental Responsibility agreement with the child's mother. If the child's mother refuses to enter into an agreement, we can issue proceedings at court for you to obtain a parental responsibility order.
As well as dealing with issues relating to custody and access, our family lawyers can advise you on child maintenance, school fees, housing needs in relation to children, holidays, moving abroad and contact with grandparents or other family members. Please contact one of our specialist family lawyers now for more advice and information.
For more information please contact us online or by phone on 01252 733770 or 020 7842 0800.