Disputes over Children | Divorce Lawyers & Family Law Solicitors | Austin Kemp

Child Law

Disputes over Children

Disputes over children are often one of the fallouts of divorce and separation.

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Legal 500
Leading Firm 2024

Such disputes usually arise due to the fear of either parent about the daily upkeep or maintenance of their children.

There is also a tendency to be concerned about the degree of post-divorce contact with the children, especially from the non-resident parent. Parents who don’t know what to expect from the court can become anxious about their rights, for instance, the outcome of the custody hearing and what will happen to their matrimonial home due to divorce.

But anxiety, fear, and divorce trauma can bedevil you psychologically to your emotional detriment. Rather than worry unnecessarily, the best option for you is to seek sound legal advice and representation at Austin Kemp.

How Can Austin Kemp’s Divorce Solicitors Help You?

At Austin Kemp, we have a longstanding commitment of putting you and your children first. We’ve successfully completed numerous cases related to disputes over children and other areas in child law and custody. We’ll assign you a specialist lawyer to manage all aspects of your case, including helping you obtain a financial order, providing answers to your questions as well as offering you support and reassurance in your difficult time.

We’re professional and effective, and provide essential information and updates that keep all clients informed throughout the process. We pride ourselves on organisational excellence. All our staff abide by the highest ethical and moral standards, and our specialism in family law distinguishes us from other law firms. Our client testimonials are a testament to the high-quality service we offer.

Our expert family law attorneys are skilled in a broad range of legal services pertaining to child law. This includes child custody arrangements when parents separate and become involved in disputes over children, same-sex parenting, international relocation, and more.

Besides lawyers, our seasoned forensic accountants will help calculate the financial aspects of the case and provide expert testimonies in court. In addition, they can help identify and value assets, estimate child support and alimony payments, and uncover hidden income and assets.

What is Meant by Custody Rights?

Child custody refers to the main residence of the child after his or her parent’s divorce. It is essential that the divorcing or disputing parents understand their rights or parental responsibility before the determination of the child’s residency. The Children Act of 1989 defines parental responsibility as “all rights, duties, powers, responsibilities, and authority, which by law, a parent of a child has in relation to the child”

In England and Wales, parental responsibility is automatically conferred on the mother because she is always listed on the child’s birth certificate.

A man will have automatic parental responsibility if he was legally married to the child’s mother when the child was delivered. If such is not the case, the only other way to be conferred with parental responsibility is if his name is on the child’s birth certificate.

A father without parental responsibility can become parentally responsible if he initiates a legally recognised parental responsibility agreement with the child’s mother. Alternatively, he can file an application in court praying to be granted a parental responsibility order.

Providing a residence for children is included among the responsibilities of parents. Usually, both divorcing parties have parental responsibility. Hence, dispute over children’s residency can arise between them. In cases where both parents are conferred with parental responsibility, no specific law explicitly grants child custody to either the mother or father. In other words, either disputing party has to convince the court that they deserve custody of the child.

A court’s major consideration before granting judgment is the child’s welfare. This salient consideration has favored women more when it comes to being granted custody since they tend to spend more time with children. However, the demands of modern family life where many women are no longer more of babysitters but are increasingly taking up full-time employment means that joint custody (as opposed to sole custody) is gaining more popularity among UK courts.

Child Arrangement Order

Courts in England and Wales have a broad spectrum of powers with respect to the determination of the child’s residence in the event of a custody dispute between the parents. This implies that judgments can vary according to case. These days, a child arrangement order is the main avenue for deciding on child residence.

A child arrangement order contains some parental considerations such as:

  • Whom the child resides with
  • The child’s mode of contact with his or her parents
  • Disputed issues, for example, disagreements about the school the child should attend
  • Steps that are considered illegal for a parent to take with the child, for instance, travelling out of the country

The Child’s Interest is Paramount

As noted earlier, courts are presently shifting focus from sole custody towards promoting joint custody or equal parental responsibility which they think is in the child’s best interest. The implication of this is obvious – two separate homes for the child. However, the amount of legally allowed time the child spends in each of his homes can vary from case to case.
But there should be no reason to go to court if both divorcing parties are able to reach an agreement. Many divorce cases end up settled without court action if the parties agree on the following crucial conditions:

  • The child’s residence
  • How the child’s time will be allocated between both parents
  • How each parent will support the child financially

The expert attorneys at Austin Kemp will help you make your agreement lawful (if and only if both of you manage to agree). Making it legally binding is much better than an informal word-of-mouth agreement which can be violated at any time by either party with little or no legal consequences.

If an agreement is simply not possible, then seeking redress in court becomes inevitable. This usually involves filing an application for a child arrangement order. Be sure to consult Austin Kemp attorneys for legal advice before commencing your application process.

You Still Need to Build a Strong Case

As alluded to above, UK courts tend to favor joint custody because of its perceived benefits. However, this is far from a foregone conclusion and each case is ultimately decided according to the strength of the presentations and evidence by the contending parties. Austin Kemp can help you build a very robust and successful case most cost-effectively.

Tips That Can Boost Your Custody Chances

If there is no viable alternative to court action, either parent may become worried about having sufficient contact with their children. Fathers are often more concerned that the court will take sides with the child’s mother, especially fathers that have already been subjected to minimal child contact since after the breakup.

But if you are a father, there’s no need to fear court bias provided you have a strong welfare plan for your child, which is the court’s most important criterion for awarding judgment.

The following tips can help you triumph:

Build a Sound Relationship With Your Children

Adopt extra measures towards developing a strong bond with your children. For instance, playing video games with them and assisting them with their school work.

Take Your Children Out

Let your children accompany you to some occasions such as sporting events, celebrations, and religious activities.

Pay for Your Children’s Upkeep

Constant provision of maintenance payments is an excellent way of showing your long-term commitment to the welfare of your children. Endeavour to document evidence of such payments if you have an informal agreement with your ex-partner.

Make Your Home Safe and Comfortable for Your Children

Allocating space in your home for your children will give them a feeling of safety and comfort. Moreover, this can be important because courts usually demand information about the living conditions provided to the children. But, if you desire another house because of your children, it is not advisable to buy a new house yet until the divorce case is over since it may be included in the marital assets to be divided.

Respect Your Ex-Partner

Despite the extent of the acrimony between both of you, mutual respect should be high on your agenda as you navigate through divorce settlement and child custody battle. A lack of respect or disrespect for your partner may impact negatively on your children’s welfare and jeopardize your custody aspirations.

Permanent Relocation

Change is always a constant aspect of life. The party entrusted with primary care of the children may wish to relocate permanently with the kids for one reason or the other. If such is the case, the primary custodian of the children will have to obtain the consent of every person that has parental responsibility for the kids.

Where the non-resident parent refuses to consent to the permanent relocation, the primary custodian can apply to a court for permission to relocate permanently to another country with the children. The court’s ruling will depend on a host of considerations with the main one being the children’s welfare.

If you intend to relocate permanently with your kids after Austin Kemp assists you win custody of them, then our highly experienced international divorce lawyers are at your service. They regularly advise on cases involving complex international dimensions. We partner other family law specialists all over the world to provide a truly international service. Our international divorce solicitors provide a reliable and responsive service that will guide you through the process.

Contact our Family Law experts today for the best possible outcomes!

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