Divorce or separation can be equally as (if not more) painful for any children involved, and custody disputes can be the most distressing and emotive aspects of a relationship breakdown. Therefore, it is of paramount importance that their needs and interests are prioritised.
It goes without saying that it’s better for all concerned if the parents can agree custody arrangements between themselves, but we appreciate that this is not always possible, especially when the parents’ relationship – and ability to communicate – has irretrievably broken down.
How can we help?
Sometimes we speak to a parent who has tentatively agreed to certain arrangements, but wants to check whether these are fair. Or a parent might come to us after their partner agreed to a set of terms, but subsequently changed their mind. Or a parent might come to us because they feel unable to communicate with their partner at all. And so on.
Whatever your concerns, rest assured that we have the knowledge, experience and understanding to support you throughout the entire process. We can advise on any proposed arrangements relating to the care of your children, refer you to local mediators if we feel mediation could be helpful in your particular circumstances, and – if you have no other choice – represent you in formal court proceedings.
Generally speaking, court proceedings are a last resort and even once proceedings begin, you will be expected to continue to try to reach a compromise without the court’s intervention. However, judges will sometimes give an early indication of the orders that they think would be appropriate, which can help any private negotiations to progress.
When a court does intervene, it has the power to make a broad range of orders, including:
- Parental Responsibility Order: a parent who is not married to (or in a civil partnership with) the other parent can apply for an order entitling them to be registered (or re-registered) on the birth certificate. This can be essential if the other parent refuses to include their name on the birth certificate or sign a Parental Responsibility Agreement.
- Child Arrangements Order: this specifies the parent with whom a child should live and the terms of any ongoing contact with the other parent.
- Prohibited Steps Order: this can legally prohibit a parent from taking certain actions, such as removing the child from school, changing a child’s name or surname, or taking the child out of the country
- Specific Issue Order: this can formalise specific details of how a child will continue to be brought up, if (for example) the parents are unable to agree on a particular aspect of their child’s upbringing, such as what type of school they go to, or whether they should have a religious education
- Adoption Order (including step-parent adoption): this gives you parental rights and responsibilities for a child who is not your own, taking away parental responsibility from the child’s birth parents or anyone else who has parental responsibility for the child
- Recovery Order: this directs someone in possession of the children to produce them when requested to do so by someone authorised by the Court. An authorised person could be anyone who the Court deems suitable, including a parent.
Get in touch
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