Children - Residence, Contact and Parental Responsibility
When couples separate the priority should be the welfare of the children and quite often there are issues that need to be addressed, such as where the children should live (Residence) and how much time they will spend with each parent (Contact).
A Residence Order (previously known as a Custody Order ) is used to decide where and with which parent a child will live on a permanent basis. A child can spend time living with both parents (a shared Residence Order) if this is practicable and in the child’s best interest.
If you are the child’s primary carer i.e. the Residence Order is in your favour, then you can decide the day-to-day issues of the child's life. However, you cannot change their name or take them out of the country for more than one month without the permission of everyone with parental responsibility.
Unless the Court directs otherwise, a Residence Order will normally last until the child reaches the age of 16.
There are many things to consider when seeking a Residence Order so it is important that you obtain legal advice before applying to the Court. Talk to one of our experienced family solicitors who will be happy to discuss your options with you.
If you have separated from your partner, it is best for everyone, especially the children, if you can come to an amicable arrangement between you about their future care. This can include Residence and Contact arrangements for the children to visit or stay with a person they don’t live with, previously known as ‘access’ arrangements.
However, making arrangements for children is a very emotional process and you may not be able to discuss matters objectively and constructively. Don’t worry, we can help. Our experienced family law team can negotiate on your behalf and find a solution that puts the children’s needs first, thereby reducing the stress, costs and delay of court proceedings.
A person with parental responsibility has a legal status in a child’s life and has the power to make decisions about the child’s life.
When a child is born to married parents, both parents automatically have parental responsibility for the child. When a child is born to unmarried parents, only the mother automatically has parental responsibility for the child. For children born after 1st December 2003, the unmarried father will have parental responsibility if he is registered on the child’s birth certificate.
However, an unmarried father does not automatically have parental responsibility but he can obtain parental responsibility either by entering into a Parental Responsibility Agreement with the mother or by obtaining a Parental Responsibility Order through the Court.
A Parental Responsibility Agreement recognises the rights of both parents who have parental responsibility allowing them to make decisions about:
- The child’s religion;
- The child’s education;
- The child’s name;
- The child’s medical treatment (or refusal thereof);
- Whether the child can leave England and Wales on holiday.
The giving of Parental Responsibility to an unmarried father does not, however, mean that he has the right to interfere in the day to day upbringing of children who live with their mother.
More from the Downs Blog
Q: I am divorced but when my former spouse and I separated things were amicable and we kept financial agreements friendly as opposed to legally binding.
There’s no doubt that the continuing “stay at home” orders have put a strain on relationships, but for those who are heading for divorce, the pandemic has been particularly difficult.
Last Monday was National Divorce Day - so called because it is the first Monday “back to normal” after Christmas, the bills start landing on the doormat and frayed couples have spent too long in close proximity. However, as the numbers of separations are largely on the decline, it seems there is a rise in the “silver splitter” - and if you’re one of them, you might find you’re in for a financial windfall.
During these uncertain times, it is good to know you can count on us.
Even after the recent Government announcement of another national lockdown we remain open for business and are here to help you.
Monday 6 January was dubbed “Divorce Day” by those in the legal profession, as it is the day forecast to be the most likely that couples will start proceedings to separate. However, this year, Divorce Day saw something of a reunification, as the Government re-convened over introducing a “no-fault” divorce.
With Christmas behind us for another year, the prospect of long dark days of January can take their toll on the best of us. Plus, as the Christmas credit card bills start landing on the doormat, it’s hardly surprising to see why this time of year is also known as Divorce Season.
One of the busiest times of the year for a family lawyer is January. There are more new divorce clients than at any other time of the year. This is often attributed to the pressure of the family being together at Christmas. Yule being the straw that broke the camel’s back.
Christmas and the lead up to it should be an exciting and memorable time for children and rewarding for their parents. Christmas is a busy and sometimes stressful period, getting everything prepared for the big day. For parents who have separated, this stress is magnified significantly as they try to organise themselves, their own families and agreeing what’s best for the children.
Regular followers of Downs’ news will know that we have closely been following the law surrounding no-fault divorce. In an update published today the legislation will start to be introduced.
In my line of work, I tend to see the statistic of one in three marriages ending in divorce in real life. Whilst many will say signing a pre-nup is one of many things they wish they knew before they get married quite often, separated parties will ask me things they need to know before they get divorced.
Prenuptial agreements, or pre-nups, have been increasing in popularity over recent years. Older people are marrying later in life and living together longer are just a couple of reasons why pre-nups have been thrown into the spotlight. So, when it comes to gathering a lifetime’s worth of assets, it is hardly surprising that people are increasingly looking to protect them.
Here at Downs Solicitors, we have been closely following the changes in the law surrounding “no blame” divorce – today we were really pleased to hear the news that the law will be changed.
You’d think the answer to this question would be easy and that anyone would choose family over any situation. However, it seems at times we forget how our assets, such as property and finances, can tear families apart.
If you were keeping an eye on our legal updates during Christmas, you may have noticed we stuck to a slightly less festive topic. Divorce season is well and truly upon us and with a forecast spike in the number of separations, have we simply made divorcing a spouse far too easy?
Whilst the fun and festivities are over for another year, a number of people can find the effects of debt and stress finally take their toll. It is one of many reasons why this time of year is known as Divorce Season. However, there could be a solution to marriage breakdown and over the years I have certainly seen some of the simplest remedies become the most effective.
In 2017 there were 3.3 million cohabiting couples who were neither married or in civil partnerships. This for the last 20 years has been the fastest growing group of couples. A significant proportion of this group are in single ownership or tenanted properties. This is a concern when considering the limited rights that cohabiting couples have versus married couples.
Tis the season to be jolly, but, we address a slightly more morose topic for a reason. Divorce Day will soon be upon us once again. It is the first working Monday of every year and gets its name due to a surge in divorce applications.
We’ve all probably heard of a pre-nuptial agreement, but what about the lesser-known post-nup? What exactly is it and why are more people looking to write them?
It may seem a strange sentiment, but this time of year actually sees the highest number of divorces than any other time of the year. Dubbed “divorce day” by many of us in the legal profession, January 7 2019 is the first working Monday after Christmas. It is also predicted to be the day we see a predicted spike in the number of divorces – but maybe there is something we can do about that.
We are probably all guilty of it, but, seeing as it is divorce season, perhaps now is the best time to be thinking about some of the things we do that cause unnecessary bitterness.
Whilst the fun and festivities come around, a number of people can find the effects of debt and stress finally take their toll. It is one of many reasons why this time of year, we often term as Divorce Season. However, there could be a solution to marriage breakdown and over the years I have certainly seen some of the simplest remedies become the most effective.
The most popular day to start divorce proceedings is in early January. Whether it is the pressure of the cost of Christmas, or working longer hours in the lead up to the festivities, the first working Monday of the new year is commonly referred to by many lawyers as “Divorce Day.”
This week is Good Divorce Week, aptly named as a way of raising awareness of the wider impact a separation can bring, particularly for children. Whilst divorce is always difficult, a number of studies have revealed the long-term serious impact on children, specifically around the conflict a divorce brings. Good Divorce Week aims to address the issues affecting children and how separating couples can mitigate any complications by providing practical help and support.
Following on from our recent blog calling for a review of divorce law, more plans have now been revealed to address some of the outdated areas of the law.