When a husband and wife have a child together, it goes without saying that they are both equally responsible for that child’s health and well-being. This doesn’t change when the marital relationship comes to an end and the parents separate or get divorced.
While it might be easy for partners to get caught up in their own feelings throughout what is no doubt a very stressful and emotional process, it’s important that they keep in mind the feelings of their children while all this is going on; and make arrangements that are in their best interests. Probably the most important of these decisions will be child custody and visitation – or what is now termed residence and contact.
If you have children and are going through a divorce, one of our Divorce Solicitors in Leeds will be able to offer you the help you need when it comes to residence and contact matters.
When the Divorce Petition was filed, if there were children involved in the relationship, a Statement of Arrangements would have also been submitted, outlining the proposed arrangements for the children. If both partners agree to these arrangements, the court is unlikely to interfere and seek to alter them.
However, if the parents are unable to reach agreement on the arrangements involving their children, there are a number of options available to try and resolve the issue.
Mediation – Instead of, or before going to court, parents might be advised to undergo mediation. A specially trained mediator will look at both sides of the argument and objectively try and guide the matter to an agreement that both parents are happy with.
Court Hearing – A court hearing may be scheduled, bringing both parents together with the aim of trying to resolve any disagreements and establish a fair and workable custody and access arrangement.
CAFCASS – Depending on the outcome of the court hearing, the Court Welfare organisation which looks after the interests of children involved in family law matters (CAFCASS), may hold a number of meetings with the parents and children, in an effort to resolve the matter.
If you are obtaining a divorce and you and your partner are unable to agree on the arrangements for your children, it’s important you get the appropriate legal advice. Our firm of Divorce Solicitors in Leeds will be able to help you understand all the options that are available to you.
When parents separate, in the majority of cases they are able to come to a decision on most of the matters involving their children. However, this isn’t always the case, and there could be disagreements on a number of issues, particularly custody, or residence, and what sort of access, or contact, the non-custodial parent will be granted.
While the court would much rather see a voluntary arrangement agreed between the two parents, where this isn’t going to be possible, or doesn’t appear to be in the best interests of the children, a judge will make the final decision.
This is really seen as a last resort to protect the welfare of the children concerned, and if parents are able to reach agreement on custody and access, the arrangement is likely to be much more viable in the long term.
If you are considering a divorce and will need help with a child custody issue, get in touch with our Divorce Solicitors in Leeds. With a range of services to suit all budgets, we will make sure you get the advice you need.