Children’s Issues

The English Courts can resolve disputes concerning children. A common dispute concerns with whom the children should live. English courts can make residence orders to settle this. (These orders used to be called custody orders). The Courts are sensitive to the need to protect children from being pressured to take sides or make choices.

Another common issue is contact (previously called “access” and the same as U.S “visitation”) The Courts consider that regular contact is mostly desirable although the practice of how it is achieved varies depending on circumstances.

The Courts can also make orders on other aspects of children’s lives such as schooling although this is less usual.

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Children's Issues

Children's Issues - Scenario Analysis Example #1

Mr and Mrs H separated. Mr H moved a few streets away and their eldest boy (now 15) lived with him. The younger children (14 and 12) stayed with Mrs H but the children live near each other and attend the same school. Mrs H remarried and wishes to move to her new husband’s city. Mr H sought advice about residence of the other children. He told us the middle child wanted to stay at school with his friends.

Our solution:
There is no set age at which a child can “choose”. Nevertheless in reality it would be hard for Mrs H to resist the 14 year old’s wishes. We needed to be careful not to stress the children. Rather than issuing proceedingswe arranged mediation for Mr and Mrs H to discuss the issues. We advised Mr H to be flexible regarding contact. They reached an amicable arrangement for all children to live with Mr H for the school week and half weekends; and flexible school holiday arrangements.

What our clients are saying:

‘DR’, London

To thank Brookman solicitors would be an understatement of my gratitude towards the professional service they provided me in a complicated child related legal matter. 

At the time my son was in danger of being taken back to an overseas country not recognised by the EU or the Hague convention by his overseas born mother. 
 
In this very disturbing and complex case I felt re-assured through out by Brookman solicitors that I was in the very best legal hands possible. The professionalism shown by the entire practise of Brookman solicitors is difficult to quickly summarise, but in a desperate time of my life they gave me the energy and optimism that I desperately needed. 
 
The case lasted over one year but was finally won in the Royal Courts of Justice, London. Being a father and unmarried would have suggested the chances of winning the case being slim. However, because of the expertise and sheer excellence of Brookman Solicitors the case was won. I shall always be indebted to them. 
 
In fact I often wake up in the morning to see my son smiling and think to myself that matters could have been very different if I had not followed the advice of this outstanding legal team.

Children's Issues FAQs

Here is a selection of common questions relating to how children are involved in and affected by the divorce process. If you have unanswered questions, please contact us using the form above or you can contact us here.

Do we have to go to Court to decide what will happen to the children?

No, in almost all cases this is not required. Typically, the parents agree and often formalise the arrangement with the assistance of their lawyer. Where parents agree there is usually no need for any court order at all. If the parents cannot agree it would then become a matter for the Court to decide.

Can I insist that I see my child on special occasions, such as birthdays?

Normally the non-resident parent will be able to agree to see their child on significant dates and occasions. This can either be agreed informally with the other parent but if there is a dispute then the non-resident parent could apply for a court order.

Can I take my child to live abroad after divorce?

Permission will be required from the other parent or via a court order. Taking your child abroad for longer than a holiday would be considered abduction and the other parent could apply to the Child Abduction Unit to have your child brought home.

What happens to step children regarding custody and maintenance?

If the step-parent has taken the role of parent during the marriage and their ex-spouse (the biological parent) is not able to provide for the child, the step-parent may then be required to pay child maintenance.  Whilst it is typical for the child’s biological parent to gain residence, this is not always the case. It will depend on how capable the parents are to provide for the child what is in the child’s best interests.

Does the CMS (formerly the CSA) have to be involved in deciding child maintenance?

No. Whilst you may use a CMS calculation to aid with deciding a maintenance payment figure, it is then common for a private maintenance agreement to be set up by your lawyers. The CMS or court do not then need to be involved. If required, 12 months from the agreement, the CMS can become involved if either party wishes it.

Can I change my child’s surname after divorce?

Changing your child’s surname would require the other parent’s written consent or a court order.

Will the family home be retained for the child to live in?

If it is in the best interests of the child to remain in the family home with one of the parents it is possible that the court will order the home to be retained for a set length of time.

Can I move with my child to another part of the UK?

If you are the resident parent, you do not need the other parent’s permission to move with your child within the UK. However, the other parent could request a court order preventing you from moving whilst the situation is looked at in more detail. In making a decision as to the child’s living arrangements, the court will always look first at what is in the best interests of the child.

Can I take my child abroad on holiday?

If you have a court order setting out that the child is to live with you then you do not need ask permission from the other parent to go on holiday abroad for up to 28 days. If you do not have a court order, you will require the permission of the other parent. If the other parent will not give permission, you can apply for an order to go on holiday with the child.

Will my ex-spouse having a new partner affect what contact they can have with our child?

Typically no. However, if you have good reason to be concerned about your child’s welfare with regard to your ex’s new partner, you could apply for conditions to be imposed upon the existing contact arrangements.

Can our child choose which parent they live with?

If the child is old enough and has sufficient understanding to state a preference, the court will take into account their wishes. It is however unlikely that the child will simply be asked to choose because it is an unfair question and the reasons behind a child’s answer may be mixed. The court will however also consider wider factors, including each parent’s ability to meet the child’s needs, the child’s safety and how the new change in circumstances may affect the child.


Google Reviews

Brookman Solicitors

55 Reviews

Simon Rogerson 12/08/2019

I wanted to say a big thanks to Henry Bookman and his colleagues for all their help and guidance during my divorce - a long a complicated one. The team were all brilliant. I loved the fact that Henry was happy to explore possibilities and search for solutions. I also feel that on occasions he gave hope when things were against me. All told a great coach who was ready with pearls of wisdom when I needed it.

An'a. K 10/08/2019

I would strongly recommend this firm. I had the opportunity to discuss my case thoroughly with Mr Bookman. But before the initial consultation, I had a telephone conversation with a legal assistant who took most of the details down, so that my initial consultation was to the point I appreciate the advice given by Mr Bookman and think it a humble approach that the initial consultation is FREE and carried by the most senior member of the firm and not by a junior staff like it happens in other firms.

Anonymous 08/08/2019

Aziz Malik. Unbelievably good. Fantastic advice and was able to manage my difficult family law case to a superb outcome. Highly recommended.

Sara Estevez 01/08/2019

I did a consultation with Henry and I highly recommend him. He took the time to understand my situation, checked that he had all the information he needed and once he realized he was not the best person for my case, he recommended another lawyer in another country who could help. Unlike other lawyers I've worked with previously, he was extremely honest, transparent and generous with his time.

Riviera Boulevard 15/06/2019

The professionalism and speed at which Mr Henry responded to the initial enquiry was remarkable and the advice provided was detailed and clear.