The parent’s divorce can be a great source of stress for the child and the problem of custody can be a difficult one, even when the parents have separated on amicable terms. Working with a child custody lawyer is recommended in most divorce cases and especially in those cases when the parents cannot agree on custody and other important child arrangements after the divorce.
|Living arrangements||An agreement between the parents determines who the child/children will live with.|
Time spent with parents
|How much time the child will spend with each parent and the visitation rights are established through an agreement.|
– impacts the decision-making process,
– both parents can have parental responsibility
|Child maintenance in the UK||
– a solicitor helps determine the maintenance amount,
– agreements for the costs covered by each parent are signed and payment schedules can be determined
|Other financial arrangements||
Bank account usage for the purpose of child maintenance
– the school the child will attend,
– school changes
Decisions involving medical treatment
|Other child issues||
|Child arrangement orders||
The arrangement order can include the decision for all of the abovementioned issues.
|Specific issue orders with the help of our solicitor for child custody||
– issues for any particular dispute mentioned above,
– orders can also be issued when one parent wishes to take the child to live abroad
|Prohibited steps order||
Issued for preventing one of the parents from taking a specific action, such as access to medical treatment or preventing the child to be moved from the UK
|Child’s surname change||
– only if both parents offer their consent,
– if a parent has sole parental responsibility, approval from the other parent is not required
|Special cases solutions from solicitor for child custody||
– child custody in the event of the death of the single parent,
– child residency agreements for the grandparents or other direct family members
It is advisable to seek mediation services to sort any of the abovementioned issues concerning the child/children.
Legal advice it is available from our solicitor for child custody.
|When to contact a child custody solicitor in the UK||As soon as you decide to apply for divorce|
|Custody determination duration in the UK||When the process is amicable, the resolve can be reached in as little as one month, or a few months. The duration is different for complex cases.|
Grounds for losing custody
|Unfit parent (see below), a history of neglect or abuse, criminal background or prior conviction(s), etc.|
The child’s preference
For older children (aged 16 and older) the court may significantly take into account their preference for custody, as long as the choice is in the child’s best interest (as determined by a judge).
|Custody evaluation before awarding custody||In some cases, a special report prepared by a child custody evaluator summarizes certain important findings and can recommend the custody of a certain parent.|
|Social services involvement in custody cases in the UK||
Yes, possible in cases that involve domestic abuse or as needed if it is considered that the home is unsafe for the child.
|Unfit for custody||
You may be considered unfit for custody if you cannot provide proper care or support, or when you put the child in danger.
|Behaviour the court finds unfit for custody||
The parent has a history of child abuse and/or substance abuse; domestic abuse or psychiatric concerns can be proved in court.
|Final decision for parents deemed unfit for custody||
This is made by a judge
It is possible for the father to gain custody, especially if the mother is deemed unfit for custody; our team can give you details if this is your case.
|Services for non-UK parents||If you want to know more about your custody rights if you are not a UK resident, please reach our to us for an evaluation.|
We offer tailored solutions and the best way to find out our fees in your case is to reach out to our London solicitors.
You may apply for legal aid in the UK in certain civil court cases, however, conditions apply.
We are a dedicated team treating each case with the attention it deserves. We have experience in custody matters and with court representation in these cases.
|Estimated duration of court proceedings||
Court proceedings can last between 10 and 16 months, depending on the complexity of the case.
|Reasons to work with a solicitor for child custody in the UK||Acts in an ethical way and by keeping the child’s best interests in mind, helps you remain informed on your options.|
Our team of family lawyers is ready to assist you with information on child custody, how the Court Order is issued in England and Wales, and how you can negotiate a custody plan that will bear in mind the child’s wellbeing. Our solicitor for child custody has worked with many former spouses and can help you resolve issues such as the living arrangements for the child or children as well as how often visitation should take place.
Our London divorce lawyer can answer any questions about child custody and will offer guidance and legal assistance during hearings as needed. Working with a professional is advisable in order to understand how you can decide on important matters. Joint parenting is common in the UK and parents should always continue to make relevant decisions for the well-being of their children.
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How is child custody determined in the UK?
Parental responsibility is the preferred term used for child custody purposes in the UK. Because both parents are considered equally important to a child, the law allows both parties to retain parental responsibility in the event of divorce.
This means that all mothers and fathers in the UK have legal rights and responsibilities (to provide a home, protect and maintain their child or children, among others). In case of divorced or separated parents, this responsibility is not dictated by whether the parent still lives with the child.
According to law, the mother has automatic responsibility from birth. The father has parental responsibility (and he maintains it after divorce) if he was married to the mother when the child was born. When both parties are married and they adopt a child, they both keep their parental responsibility in case of divorce. When the parents are unmarried, the father can obtain parental responsibility when he jointly registers the birth of the child with the mother or when he signs a parental responsibility agreement with the mother or when he receives a parental responsibility order from a court.
In case of same-sex partners in the UK, they both have parental responsibility if they were civil partners at the time the fertility treatment or insemination took place. This can be maintained after separation and our solicitor for child custody can give you more details.
A child arrangement order is used to determine issues regarding the residence of the child or children and the contact with the parent with whom they do not spend the majority of their time. Apart from this, there are other types of orders, detailed below by our child custody lawyer, who are issued for specific purposes, such as prohibiting certain events (from relocating the child to others such as changing his or her surname after divorce).
How can our child custody lawyer help you?
Working out important details about the life of your child or children once the divorce is final is important. However, not all former spouses separate on amicable terms and are able to negotiate and agree upon the terms for visitation or other issues. When disputes arise, it is advisable to seek legal counsel and advice on custody.
Our solicitor for child custody can help you with the following:
- Living arrangements: our solicitors can help you decide with whom the child/children will live with; the best interests of the child will be taken into consideration;
- Visiting rights: determining how often the parent with whom the child is not living with is another issue that may raise difficulties for the former couple; our lawyer can help mediate;
- Education: ideally, both parties retain the parental responsibility concerning important matters in the life of the child such as the attended school or medical decisions;
- Others: if one of the parents wishes to move from England after the divorce and intends to take the child, our child custody lawyer can help the other party if this decision is a contested one.
We invite you to watch the following video on child custody matters:
What are the child arrangement orders?
The Court can decide on matters concerning children based on a special law, the Children Act 1989. When a parent intends to let the court decide on a specific matter, he or she may apply for an order. This order is issued following a decision made by the judge, a legal advisor, or a panel of magistrates.
Below, our child custody lawyer describes some of these orders:
- Child arrangements order: is the one that will stipulate with whom the child will live and how he or she will spend time with the other parent;
- Specific issue order: for matters that concern a single particular issue; it can be used for determining the school the child will attend;
- Parental responsibility order: it clearly stipulates the rights, duties, powers and the authority that a parent has over the child and his property by law;
- Prohibited steps order: where the Court must grant permission before one of the parent’s attempts to engage in an activity specified in the order (such as taking the child to a foreign country); our child custody lawyer can give you more information on what steps can be included;
- Financial provision order: used for child maintenance purposes, stipulates the amounts associated with reliable financial support for the child’s daily life;
- Guardian appointment order: the individual appointed through this order can take over parental responsibility in the event of one parent’s death.
The wellbeing of the child or children will be taken into account before the court order is issued. For this purpose, a representative from the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS) can be appointed by the Judge hearing the case. This is done when the Judge feels that further investigations are needed and, in this situation, a representative from the CAFCASS will speak with the child or children (according to their age). Their conclusions will be included in a report containing recommendations for the case which will be sent to court. This report will be discussed in a subsequent hearing.
When should you seek help from a solicitor for child custody?
Our team can assist you with all child custody and maintenance issues as soon as you have decided to file for divorce. We can accompany you each step of the way, from the initial negotiations with your former spouse to handling the agreements (if favourable) or applying for a court order if you cannot agree.
Our solicitors can give you complete information on the expected timeline for solving child custody issues as well as the costs that are generally associated. Some of these include the following:
- 215£ for any new application to request permission to issue proceedings or for a court order;
- 95£ for an application to revoke, amend or extend an existing enforcement order under the Children Act;
- 155£ for applications on notice if no other fee is specified in case of maintenance orders.
Apart from these fees, there are those related to the divorce procedure, such as the 550£ application fee when you apply for the divorce. Certain individuals, such as those who have a low income, may qualify for aid, for example from the Court of Protection, which is administered by the HM Courts and Tribunals Service.
Our child custody lawyer can provide you with more details on solving all child-related matters after a divorce in England.
Mandatory steps during the child custody proceedings
When choosing to take a case to court for divorce purposes, the parties need to follow a number of mandatory steps. Our solicitor for child custody can detail these, and represent you throughout and he will also provide you with details on the need to attend the Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM). This is the first meeting with a mediator and, in divorce cases where the case goes to court, the court can be the one to ask the former spouses to take this meeting. However, this is not a requirement when the divorce is one that is considered urgent for the safety of one or more parties involved (such as in the case of domestic abuse).
During this mediation meeting, the parties have the chance to resolve important child issues, however, it is not the same as choosing separate mediation services. The meeting will help those involved understand the options that are available in order to sort the issues that have not been sorted. Once the meeting is complete, a court form will be signed by the accredited mediator and later be used as proof for attending the meeting during the divorce proceedings.
A divorce is a disruptive event for the family that will affect the children. The degree to which their life is influenced, as well as the manner in which they perceive the world around them and adult relationships, will largely depend on how parents choose to handle this step and whether or not they divorce or separate on amicable terms. Our team has extensive experience in divorce cases and knows that it is beneficial for the former spouses to co-operate as much as possible during this time. By using negotiation, and family mediation when and if applicable, we can help you find a sensible way to deal with the issues concerning your child or children after divorce. Making the necessary arrangements for custody and other important decisions such as education can be easier with our help. You can rely on our professional help and our services that focus on the wellbeing of the children and on how to best help you move on from your divorce or separation.
Contact us for more information.