When a relationship comes to an end and children are involved it is important to ensure that they are safe and well. They are likely to feel unsettled as a result of the changes that are happening around them.
There are different elements which make up the law that relates to children. One of the elements that will first be considered by your solicitor is whether the parties have Parental Responsibility for the children. Parental Responsibility is defined as all the rights, duties, powers responsibilities and authority which by law a parent of a child has in relation to the child and his property.
The mother of a child has automatic Parental Responsibility for that child, married/divorced fathers have Parental Responsibility and unmarried fathers who have their name on the child’s Birth Certificate have automatic Parental Responsibility since December 2003.
When both parents have Parental Responsibility then neither of them can change the child’s name without the other’s consent. Each parent has the same right to be consulted in relation to choice of schools, religious upbringing and medical treatment.
There are different Orders which may apply depending upon your circumstances: –
• Child Arrangement Order – where there is a dispute over where children should live or how often they should see the other parent the Court will make a Child Arrangements Order specifying how the time should be split between both parents. A Child Arrangement Order has taken the place of what used to be referred to as Contact and Residence Orders.
• Specific Issue Order – if the parties have a certain issue which they are not able to agree on e.g. education then this type of Order would allow the Court to assist in reaching a decision that is suitable.
• Prohibited Steps Order – this can be used in relation to preventing one person from doing something, e.g. to stop the child being permanently removed from the United Kingdom.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How do we work out child maintenance? A: If possible, it is better if you can agree a figure between you. The Child Support Agency’s website details their calculations and provides an online calculation for further information click here.