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Relationship Breakdown, Children and Court Applications

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Many parents worry about the impact of divorce or separation on their children, but the impact is often exacerbated when the parents are unable to agree arrangements for the children and one parent ends up seeing much less of their offspring than prior to the relationship breakdown.

Many people are not aware of the law in respect of arrangements for children following separation of the parents. The law is governed by the Children Act 1989 and Section 1 contains a presumption that it will further the child’s welfare if the parent with whom the child is not living is involved in the child’s life. Furthermore, the Children Act promotes the position that the child is the one with the right to spend time with his or her parents, not the other way around.

For most parents, their children are incredibly precious and it is no surprise that if matters cannot be agreed an application is made to the Family Court.  Applications can be made to Court to formalise arrangements for children, or for the Court to make a decision about a child’s future, either to prohibit or allow a specified event to take place, or to decide where a child should live and with whom he should have contact.  It is now necessary, however, for the parents to at least attempt mediation prior to making an application to the Courts, albeit that the requirement to mediate may be waived in some circumstances.

Private Law Children’s cases can be very complex, particularly when the Court orders reports from Cafcass or in some cases, the Local Authority. Whilst it is possible to negotiate the proceedings as a litigant in person, Chattertons offers pragmatic and sensitive advice which could be invaluable in Children Act proceedings.

If you would like further information about Private Law Children’s Matters please contact a member of our specialist Family Law Team.