Supporting parents through divorce and separation
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If you are looking for legal aid you will need to contact solicitors able to offer this service. Check whether you can get legal aid here.
When a relationship breaks down it can be difficult for everyone involved. The legal focus is on protecting the rights of the child, which includes concerns for their safety and well-being and their right to have a relationship with both parents.
If parents cannot agree arrangements in relation to where a child will live and when the child will see or visit the other parent the Courts may have to be asked to make a decision – often our solicitors are able to help before things get that far.
Our family law solicitors can help with:
If you want to have a relationship with your child but are being denied access by your ex-partner there are several steps you can take.
Child arrangements orders
A child arrangements order sets out arrangements for your child to live and have contact with both parents.
The old ideas of child custody and access no longer exist in English law. If you want a formal, legal agreement about where your children will live and when they will spend time with both parents you will need to apply for a Child Arrangements Order.
Breach of a child arrangements order
If you have an order in place but this is being breached by your ex you may be able to ask the court to enforce the order.
The safety and wellbeing of your children is paramount. If your child is at risk steps can be taken to prevent contact.
Grandparents have no automatic legal rights to see their grandchildren but can apply through the courts, if an agreement cannot be reached amicably with the grandchildren’s parents.
5 steps you can take to keep things amicable
1. TRY TO REMEMBER that you are still both parents of the children even if you are divorcing and that the children need you both. “What is best for the children in this situation” might be a useful guide to remember when perhaps tempted to respond to a spouse who might be doing everything they know that annoys you.
2. TALK to each other and especially to your children. Your family lawyer will be able to help you find a specialist counsellor in any children issues that arise. But they will also have had years of experience in just this very situation and can often be very helpful with suggestions.
3. DIARY. Keep a diary which you both can access (maybe keep it on-line?) where agreed dates for children being places can be kept and also who collects, when, how, where are they going and how to contact in emergency are all stored. This will really help keep avoidable problems to a minimum.
4. ACCEPT that there will be problems and misunderstandings but try to keep the “end goal” in sight of having the children grow up with a solid foundation of parents who care about them and who they can see can face and resolve problems in life.
5. DON’T go to Court unless you have to. It is expensive and tends to be a very blunt instrument for dealing with these issues. Obviously we’d all be in Court immediately in the cases where our children need protection but in most cases discussion and restrained negotiation are best.