If you are divorcing or separating and you have children, you will want to ensure the minimum disruption to their lives. Nevertheless, as parents there are many issues you will need to resolve, such as which parent your child will live with and how often they will see their other parent.
If you and your partner find it difficult to agree on such issues you may wish to involve the court. We can provide the legal advice and support you need to find the right solutions and protect your child’s long-term interests.
If necessary, you can ask a court to decide where your child should live or how much time they spend with their other parent by seeking what is now called a Child Arrangement Order. The Courts can also help to determine a specific issue such as where your child should attend school and what their surname should be or it can prohibit a parent from taking a particular step such as removing your child to another country.
Court proceedings of this sort generally involve a child’s parents but may also involve a grandparent or the child themselves.
In all cases, if you and your partner decide your relationship is over and require the Court’s intervention its primary consideration will be the welfare of your children and any orders made will reflect this. Various factors will be taken into consideration, including:
- The wishes and feeling of your child, taking into account their age and understanding of the situation;
- Your child’s physical, emotional and educational needs;
- The likely effect on your child of any change in their home and wider family life;
- Your child’s age, gender, background and characteristics that the Court considers relevant;
- Any harm that your child has suffered in the past or is at risk of suffering;
- How capable you and your partner or any other relevant person (such as a grandparent) are of meeting your child’s needs.
Sometimes the local authority (Social Services) may become involved if there are concerns that a child is, or may become, at risk, under child protection laws.
Here at Porter Dodson, we’re experienced in representing children, parents or grandparents and we’re well placed to provide the advice and support you need to manage these difficult and sensitive issues.