Child Separation Solicitors
English family law is clear on what happens when married parents divorce, but not all unmarried couples are aware of their rights and obligations if they have children and their relationship breaks down. Finding the right family lawyer to support and guide you through a legal separation can make an enormous difference to how well you and your children cope with the split.
Children and Separation
The majority of parents put their child’s happiness and wellbeing at the forefront of decisions when they separate from the other parent. The first hurdle parents face is telling their children that they are separating, which will lead to inevitable questions about where they will live and how often they will see their other parent. Family solicitors know from experience that the more amicably these decisions are reached, the easier separation will be for everyone involved, especially children.
As long as both parents have Parental Responsibility (then they have an equal say in important decisions in their child’s life even if they are no longer the primary caregiver. This means that, while the parent the child lives with primarily can make day-to-day decisions, both parents must agree on aspects like education and medical care. It is also not possible for one parent to legally change the name of their child without the other’s agreement.
A family court will expect you to have tried every other option before asking it to decide on where your child will live. While a judge will look closely at the arguments presented by each parent, and take the child’s wishes into account where they are old enough to express them, their decision will ultimately be focused on what they believe is best for the child and might not a decision either parent wants. Family law advice is that it is always better to resolve disputes about childcare without going to court.
Mediation is often the first port of call for separated parents who can’t agree on appropriate arrangements for their child. A mediator is a neutral person who will instigate a conversation between both parents and help them to identify and explore the options they have. They can also talk to any children involved so their voice is heard. A mediator won’t make decisions on behalf of parents but will help them reach decisions both are in agreement with.
Some mediation takes place with both parents and the mediator in the same room. Where the relationship has broken down completely, a mediator may put parents in separate rooms and move between them. Some family law solicitors are trained family mediators, but a mediator does not have to be legally qualified.
An alternative to mediation is a collaborative discussion where both parents meet in a room, each with their family lawyer present. This method can work well as it is faster than communicating by letter or email, and ensures that both parties have immediate access to legal advice they can trust. As with mediation, the collaborative discussion typically takes places over several sessions.
The Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service website (Cafcass) was set up to provide advice and guidance for separating families in England but has very useful information regarding parenting plans and parenting after separation which can apply to any family in the UK.
Family solicitors are not just for litigation. They can also assist with advice and mediation to minimise the adverse effects of your separation on your family.
Why work with us?
We will explain the process clearly and keep you informed about what is happening at each stage.
Transparent with costs
We offer a cost effective solution that's tailored to your situation; and we will provide clear information about the costs.
Advice from top solicitors
You will be assigned to an expert solicitor who will give you the best advice and compassion at this sensitive time.
Expert family law solicitors working for you
At The Family Law Experts, we work with specialist solicitors in all aspects of divorce, matrimonial, family and childcare law.
We offer an expert approach at a personal level for all our legal support. When dealing with family issues and family legal problems, our aim is to deal with each case in the least confrontational way possible, whilst still achieving the best results for our clients. We understand that when family issues arise and family relationships break down, real lives are affected, and the need for expert legal help and support is essential.