Splitting up from your child’s parent can be one of the saddest parts of separation. We recognise this and can help you work out ways to continue to co-parent effectively from different homes. If you need additional support we can refer you to a wide range of qualified professional psychiatrists and counsellors.
In family law the welfare of your child is paramount and decisions will be looked at from the point of view of your child. It is your child’s right to have an ongoing relationship with both parents. In general the court will not get involved in decisions about a child’s future unless you as parents cannot agree or there are child protection issues.
You may be able to agree where your children should live and how they should divide their time between you as well as other arrangements for them but if you cannot we can assist. We also offer mediation as a way in which you and your partner can discuss what is best for your children in a neutral environment.
If you cannot agree you can ask the court to make a decision. Before you make an application to the court, it may be necessary to attend a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) to explore whether it might be appropriate and beneficial for you to mediate a solution rather than litigate. If you do end up making an application to court, the court can make orders regulating where your child should live (residence) and make arrangements so that your child sees regularly the parent with whom they do not live all the time (called contact). Increasingly parents share residence. Where it is practical children may spend weekday time with each parent and contact is not restricted to weekends and holidays.
If you or your child’s other parent live abroad or wish to do so a number of issues will arise and we have a great deal of experience in advising parents in cases involving international arrangements and international relocation cases. We have good relationships with specialist family lawyers in many other countries so can help provide you with practical advice on appropriate arrangements whether you are the parent who is living abroad or not.
If you have concerns about your child we can apply for orders prohibiting the other parent from doing things without your permission (such as taking your child abroad or changing schools).
In certain cases an emergency may arise and we may need to act immediately to protect your child. The court can make orders in relation to a child’s welfare without any notice if need be.
We are also used to advising in private law cases where Social Services have an involvement.