Separation can be a very tough time, especially when there are children involved. Trying to make the right arrangements for your children at a time when there are many other things to consider can be very stressful. However, having the right knowledge can help. Here is some easy legal advice from a child custody lawyer.

Put The Needs Of The Children First

Although court can seem daunting, if your case reaches that point then all a judge will be doing is making a decision in the best interests of your children. It can save a lot of heartache if you are able to reach an agreement without having to go to court, so following this principle in the early stages of your discussions will help. Start by asking these questions:

  • Which parent has the most time available to look after the children?
  • Whose home is closest to your children’s school?
  • What changes might happen in terms of schools as the children get older?

What Are Your Rights?

As long as both parents have parental responsibility for the child (the mother always has this, the father will if he is listed on the birth certificate, was married to the mother at the time of birth or has applied for parental responsibility after the fact) then both parents are responsible for providing housing. Parental responsibility is defined by the Children Act 1989.

This means that neither one of the parents has the sole right for the children to live with them. The welfare of the children is what is important, and on that basis the court tries to promote shared living arrangements.

The Different Types Of Custody

Although you might be familiar with the terms ‘sole custody’ and ‘joint custody’, you are more likely to hear a child custody lawyer talking about child arrangement orders. This is the legal order which determines where the children will live. It also covers:

  • How the child has contact with parents
  • Any specific disputes (such as where the child goes to school)
  • Any prohibited steps a parent cannot take (such as taking the child abroad).

How To Improve Your Chances Of Getting Custody

As has been stated, if your case ends up in court then the judge will be keen to award a joint living arrangement in most instances. If you are worried that your contact with your children will be limited, there are some things you can do in the meantime. For example, you can attend key events, pay child maintenance, ensure that there is a safe space in your home for your child and demonstrate your strong relationship.

When To Visit A Child Custody Lawyer

It can be difficult to come to an agreement, particularly when emotions are running high. In these cases, it is best to visit a child custody lawyer to ensure that everything is done correctly. You may also feel more secure knowing that the arrangement you have come to is legally binding. 

At Beeston Shenton, our family law team are experienced, sympathetic and know how difficult this situation can be. Our fees are fixed, so you won’t have any nasty surprises. Contact us today to learn more.