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Child Custody

Child Custody

Our specialist Family Law Lawyers based at our London office are specialists in the law of child custody, no matter what your current situation or background. If your problems are being exacerbated because you have just come through a stressful divorce or separation, the waters can be even more muddied. This is why your first choice of assistance should always be from a law firm that are fully knowledgeable, up to date and authorities in the case of family law and child custody.

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Wrongly, some couples assume that upon separation the child will always automatically stay with the mother but this is not always the case. After all, if both parties have been involved in the care and upbringing of the children then both should be considered equally as far as custody is concerned. Of course, things like security and stability will come into play and it could be that the parent with the most stable career, higher income or even permanent place of residence is the one that will be favoured by the courts.

If either party has a background of instability due to drug or alcohol abuse or even mental health problems, this will be taken into account. The problems really begin when both parents are seen as comparatively equal and the mother wants custody of the children. Then the law may err on her side and the father may find himself left only with occasional weekend visits and contact in holiday periods. If you find yourself in this predicament then you can be forgiven for feeling upset, angry and ostracised by the current legal system.

This is where we can do our utmost to help by adopting a non-confrontational and peaceable approach and by ensuring that as far as the children are concerned, they are not subjected to any stress or unpleasantness. If either parent is not open to negotiation, then issues can very quickly become hard to handle. This is where an expert team like ours really can pay dividends. Because we have a history of dealing with such discernibly entangled cases, we can win points by being extremely proactive and doing all possible to simplify what could become a tortuous situation.

Many times we have seen clients fighting with each other, firing back and forth long essays of paperwork and doing nothing to resolve the case or get anywhere close to a settlement. By making use of our expert service we can save you time and money that would easily be lost in a predicament such as this. As sophisticated handlers of your case we will do all possible to avoid this type of stalemate situation and instead aim towards an amicable and mutually acceptable resolution.

Residence Orders

If a Residence Order is brought into play then it will set out clearly and concisely the details of the person that has been selected as the main custodian i.e. the party with whom the child will live on a regular basis. This used to be referred to as ‘custody’ but now the Residence Order takes the place of this. The best scenario of course is where residence is agreed outside of the courts between the parents, and this is the result that we will always try to obtain by making use of expert mediation processes.

Here we have to mention the rights of parental responsibility as the Residence Order does not negate any parental responsibility that is already in existence. For example, if it is agreed that the children will live with the father and this is shown in the Residence Order, this does not detract from any parental responsibility that the mother may have. If the case is complex and the children are placed with someone that does not have parental responsibility (for example, grandparents), they will acquire some degree of responsibility but this will be limited.

When the Residence Order is made, a Contact Order, Prohibited Steps Order or even a Specific Issue Order may be called into play. If this is the case, we will deal with this for you at the same time.

So who makes the Residence Order?

This is usually dealt with by the Family Panel which is a court of law specifically empowered to deal with cases of child custody. You may also be visited by a Court Welfare Officer who will want to see where you live and find out about your current circumstances. Usually they will also want to interview the children as, dependent upon their age; they may be asked who they would prefer to live with.

This whole process can be incredibly stressful, upsetting and unpleasant for everyone involved. In this type of situation we will do all possible to avoid the problems escalating and ensure that the children are shielded as much as possible from the painful processes of the law.

We will also bring into the discussion of things like child maintenance and contact orders. In the event that Exclusion Orders are brought into play by either party citing instances of domestic violence we will do all within our power to make certain that fabricated stories are not allowed to impact negatively upon the situation and will do whatever is needed to protect the involved parties.

By its very nature, family law and child custody can be a very emotive issue. If you find yourself overwhelmed by your situation and at a loss to know which way to turn, we are here to help. Talk to a solicitor now.

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