Child Law

Making arrangements for your children is often the most difficult aspect of a divorce or separation. Sometimes children will divide their time between both parents after the separation and this can be a hard adjustment.

At Chattertons Solicitors we understand how daunting it is to put a new routine in place. We will do all we can to ensure  that the new arrangements are in the best interests of your children, who will be the primary concern of the court, should the Court become involved.

Issues in relation to children can be legally and emotionally complicated and without careful management, the parents’ relationship can deteriorate further. We are committed to resolving disagreements over arrangements for children, without conflict wherever possible. Our family law team includes members of Resolution, a recognised family law group dedicated to constructive resolution of family disputes.

We are expert negotiators and will work on your behalf towards an acceptable solution for you and your family. If agreement cannot be reached with the other party, we will support you through the mediation process, where a neutral third party will help you to put agreed child arrangements in place.

This type of approach has consistently proved to be the most advantageous for a family, allowing parents to work together to find the right balance and to ensure that they both have a meaningful relationship with their children.

Our family law team has an excellent track record of success in helping families put a solid legal foundation in place as they face the future.

Our expertise in handling arrangements for children

We have in-depth experience across a full range of issues in relation to children, including the following:

  • Negotiating arrangements for children
  • Child Arrangements orders
  • Specific Issue orders
  • Prohibited Steps orders
  • Parental Responsibility orders
  • Moving overseas with children
  • Grandparents’ rights

We also deal with all aspects of family law.

Speak to our child arrangements solicitors

For expert advice in relation to arrangements for your children, you can contact our local Family Law teams in Boston, Grantham, Horncastle, Lincoln, London, Newark, Sleaford, Spalding or Stamford.

To ask a question or request a call back at a time that suits you, please use our simple enquiry form and a member of our team will get back to you quickly.

Clients often ask us…

Where will the children live after a divorce?

The Courts first consideration is the children is the child or children of the family.  The Court will want a child to have a meaningful relationship with both parents unless there is good reason not to. This means that both parents will have ongoing contact with the child. One parent will usually be the main carer of the child, who will generally spend regular time with the other parent, for example, at weekends.

While it is often the mother who is the primary caregiver, it does not have to be.

How are child arrangements made?

The courts like parents to reach agreement between themselves over child arrangements wherever possible. At Chattertons Solicitors, we specialise in helping parents find a solution without unnecessary conflict.

We can advise you on what you could put into a parenting plan and negotiate on your behalf to try to reach agreement with your child’s other parent. Even if you cannot agree on all issues, it is always advantageous to try to resolve as much as possible without the intervention of the court.

Will I need to go to court to decide where my children will live?

If you cannot reach an acceptable solution with your child’s other parent over child arrangements, to include where your child will live, the next step is mediation.

We can advise and represent you throughout this so that you understand the procedure and so that your rights and interests are protected. The mediator is a neutral third party who will attempt to help both parents agree on the way forward. Unlike the court, a decision will not be imposed upon you and the outcome will be something that you have both agreed upon.

If agreement cannot be reached, then you can ask the court to make a decision. The judge will look at issues such as the child’s wishes (depending on their age), the child’s needs and the ability of each parent to meet them, any risk of harm and any other significant factors.

Do I need a solicitor for child arrangements?

It is always advisable to instruct a solicitor when you deal with child arrangements. They will be able to suggest all of the issues you may want to put into the agreement, which can help avoid misunderstandings and disagreements later on.

If you ask us to act for you, we will make sure that your interests are recognised and that the agreement is sound.

Can you take children abroad without both parents’ consent?

If you wish to take a child out of the country, you will need the consent of anyone with parental responsibility. This often means that you will need the other parent’s written consent.

What is parental responsibility?

Parental responsibility is the rights, duties and responsibility that a parent has in relation to a child.

It includes providing a home, protecting the child, arranging for education, agreeing to medical treatment, naming the child and looking after the child’s property.

You do not have to consult anyone else with parental responsibility if you wish to make a routine decision, however they will need to agree in writing to any major decisions such as moving the child abroad to live or consenting to medical treatment.

Who has parental responsibility?

A child’s birth mother automatically has parental responsibility as well as fathers who are married to the mother or in a civil partnership with them at the time of the birth.

Unmarried fathers will usually have parental responsibility if they are named on the birth certificate. Same sex partners will usually have parental responsibility if they were married to the birth mother or in a civil partnership with her at the time of donor insemination or fertility treatment, or if they have adopted the child.

What are specific issue orders and prohibited steps orders?

A specific issue order is the court’s ruling on a particular matter that it has been asked to consider. Examples include where a child should be educated, whether they can have a particular medical treatment or whether their name can be changed.

A prohibited steps order prevents something being done concerning the child, such as stopping them from being taken abroad or preventing a named person from having contact with them.

How does domestic violence affect child custody?

Where domestic violence is an issue, the wellbeing of the child will be of paramount importance. A court would consider the physical and emotional impact of the abuse on the child, including in the future. The risk of harm to the parent who is the victim will also be taken into account.

The authorities will put safeguarding measures in place, such as preventing the abuser from having contact with the child or only allowing them supervised contact.

The abusive parent is recommended to take steps to address their behaviour and be able to demonstrate this to the court if they wish to convince it that they no longer pose a threat.

Get in touch with our specialist child law solicitors

For expert advice in relation to the law in relation to arrangements for children you can contact our local Family Law teams in Boston, Grantham, Horncastle, Lincoln, London, Newark, Sleaford, Spalding or Stamford.

To ask a question or request a call back at a time that suits you, please use our simple enquiry form and a member of our team will get back to you quickly.