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Divorcing with children – Your Guide


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Divorcing with children can be a worrying and daunting prospect for all concerned. When couples divorce one of their main concerns is what will happen to their children. Kim Basinger, who divorced from her husband Alec Baldwin when their now 20 year old daughter was only 5, spoke to Net A Porter’s digital magazine about her very ‘public and nasty’ divorce and custody battle.

Divorcing with children can add to the pressures of the divorce process, as we know any relationship breaking down can be a stressful and difficult on its own. We look at your options when it comes to childcare and child maintenance.


What is classed as a child?

When considering divorcing with children, for the purposes of child maintenance – a child is someone under the age of 16 or under 19 and in full-time education.


You can arrange childcare and maintenance yourself

If you and your partner can agree about who will look after the children and the level of maintenance the non-primary carer will pay, then it is possible to agree this between yourselves with no outside help.


Divorcing with children – Mediation

A mediator – an independent third party – could assist you and your partner to discuss your childcare and maintenance options in order to help you come to an agreement. It’s worth noting that you usually have to prove you’ve at least considered mediation before you go to court, although this is not the case when there has been, for example, domestic abuse.


Divorcing with children – Child Support Agency

Soon to be replaced by the Child Maintenance Service, the primary carer of the children can make an application to these agencies for child maintenance – although which one you can apply to does depend on a number of different factors. Both of these agencies can take payments directly from income.

If one of the parents lives abroad, then these agencies won’t be able to make any kind of assessment. It may also not be the best option if you or your partner is a high net worth individual with complex finances.

divorcing with children


Children are the court’s primary consideration

During divorcing with children, if you are unable to decide between yourselves or with a mediator then the court can be asked to decide what is best for the children.

When a marriage breaks down and the court is asked to look at arrangements for any children involved, their primary consideration will always be the children’s welfare and needs. The financial provision for divorcing with children is usually decided at the same time as other finances, especially if the person taking primary care responsibilities has much less wealth and assets than the other parent. The rule of thumb is that if one parent is taking the majority of responsibility for looking after the children then the other must pay towards the children’s upkeep.


Court orders

There are a number of different court orders that you’ll be able to apply for such as a Child Arrangement Order or a Specific Issue Order.

A Prohibited Steps Order is also possible to make sure the other parent can’t make any decisions about the upbringing of the child.

Divorce is an emotional time, especially when there are children involved. Specialist legal advice as to what to expect during the process can help you to understand what your rights are and decide what is best for your children. Getting this advice early on can hopefully reduce the likelihood of a long and drawn out custody battle.


Need help with divorcing with chilren? Contact our expert divorce solicitors.

Our expert family law solicitors can help you with a range of legal issues relating to divorcing with children, including:


Contact our expert divorce solicitors for advice on divorcing with children

For more information call our divorce solicitors on 0845 862 5001 or email mail@austinkemp.co.uk.

Our expert family law solicitors offer a nationwide service. We have client meeting office facilities available, in order to have face-to-face client meetings / conferences as and when required in:

Leeds Office: Princes Exchange, Princes Square, Leeds, LS1 4BY

Wakefield Office: Market Walk, Wakefield, WF1 1QR

Halifax Office: Old Lane, Halifax, HX3 5WP

Huddersfield Office: Northumberland Street Huddersfield, HD1 1RL

Coventry Office: Warwick Road, Coventry, CV1 2DY

Canary Wharf Office: 25 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London, E14 5LB

Please contact us for more details.

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