One of the biggest concerns for separating couples is the impact on the children. You are often faced with many questions – Where will our children live? How often will I see my children?
Divorce and the breakdown of a relationship can be an emotional and stressful time. Our specialist team of divorce and family law solicitors have years of experience resolving emotional disputes to help you make the best decision for your children.
Wherever possible we will work with you to resolves the issues out of court through negotiation or mediation. If court proceedings are required our highly experienced team will ensure your case is managed in a cost effective manner to produce the best outcome for your children.
Arrangements for your children – Custody, Access, Contact & Residence
The majority of couples are able to agree what is best for their children between themselves or with the help of a mediator or their solicitor. Rachel Baker (head of the family team) is a trained mediator and can provide you with detailed information and support with regard to the process and can explain potential benefits of engaging in mediation.
If mediation is not appropriate or is unsuccessful then you can make an application for the court to decide the best arrangements for your children.
Child Arrangement Orders
Previously courts made orders for custody, access, contact and residence. These have now been replaced with Child Arrangement Orders which regulate the arrangements as to where a child will live and with whom they are to spend time or otherwise have contact.
The order will state how the child’s time is to be divided and in most cases an order will specify that a child is to spend time with both parents. The time spent with each parent is not necessarily equal, it varies depending upon the needs of the family. However it is generally presumed that a it is in a child's interests to have a relationship with both parents.
In some cases the court may decide the child is to live with one parent and have contact with the other at specified times. Sometimes it is appropriate for this contact to be supervised or limited to indirect contact for example
s by letters or cards.
Moving away and moving abroad
Following a divorce or a breakdown of a relationship, one parent may want to move away with the children or even take them to live abroad.
You should always consult the other parent and involve them in any decision regarding the children. If you are considering moving away without the other parent’s agreement they may ask the court to make an order preventing you from doing so until arrangements have been properly considered.
If you cannot agree, you can ask the court to decide for you. The arrangements will be considered in detail and the primary consideration of the court will be the welfare of the children.
In order to take a child out of the country, even for a short holiday you must have the consent of every person with parental responsibility. The only exception to this is that a person named in a child arrangements order as the person with whom the child is to live can take the child abroad for short trips (less than one month) without the consent of the other parent with parental responsibility.
Our highly experienced team at George Green can help you if you wish to relocate to another country with your child or you wish to oppose the other parent’s plans to do so. A parent wishing to relocate to another country with their children must have the consent of everyone with parental responsibility, if parents cannot agree on the decision they can apply to court for a specific issue order.
In court, any dispute between parents is resolved by looking at the welfare of the child and determining their best interests. If the children are older the court will also consider their wishes and feelings. The impact on the parent left behind will also be taken into consideration.
We recommend that you take legal advice from the outset when you are first considering your plans to relocate abroad or first become aware of the other parent's plan to do so. Our expert team of family lawyers can help you consider your options to ensure the best possible outcome for you and your child.
If you believe that there is a risk your child may be taken out of the country without your consent, please contact a member of our team immediately. We will provide you with quick expert advice to ensure the safety and well-being of your child.
Following a divorce or breakdown of a relationship parents can often find it difficult to agree on issues relating to the upbringing of their children, such as where the children will attend school or medical treatment they will receive. If both parents have parental responsibility they must agree on major decisions in their child’s life. If they cannot come to an agreement, our highly experienced team of family solicitors can offer legal advice to help to achieve the best outcome for you and your child.
Following a divorce or breakdown of a relationship, one parent may make decisions without informing the other. If the other parent disagrees they may apply to the court for a prohibited steps order preventing the other parent from doing something without the consent of the court. This may include changing the child’s name, moving the child to another school or taking the child abroad.
Our highly experienced family lawyers are based in Cradley Heath and Wolverhampton. We are able to meet at locations to suit you and offer out of hours appointments upon request to meet your needs.