Couples seeking a separation or divorce are required to make a number of arrangements to ensure finances and assets are distributed fairly and equitable among themselves and their children. However, during such emotionally overwhelming times, crucial details pertaining to child custody normally get overlooked and neglected.

At Wembley Solicitors, we can ensure questions of children custody are looked in great detail to meet the expectations of both parents. The following are some guidelines covering child custody laws and regulation.

Child law and separation

A child in the UK is consistent with the definition of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child which is anyone who is under the age of 18. This definition provides many rights and privileges to children with regard to safety and maintenance. Parents who are separated are entitled to see and interact with their children. The court makes arrangements to ensure there is regular contact and is flexible enough to meet education, schooling and maintenance needs.

The court may allow the child, for instance, to live with each parent on a rotation basis as per a specific duration period. Parents are thus required to agree on an arrangement to ensure each can have equal access and contact with their children.

Child's name change

In the case of married parents, they simply need to register the name of the child on the birth certificate. The child will usually take the name of their father unless the mother chooses to do so differently along with the consent of the biological father.

Unmarried fathers, on the other hand, do not have the right to have their child's surname named after them. In such cases, both unmarried parents need to approve by signing the register and issue a sworn statement.

If a legal guardian takes custody of a child and wishes to change the child's name, he or she must seek permission from the biological father. If permission is not attainable, then the guardian can apply for a specific issue order.

Child or children's custody

Decisions pertaining to the custody of your child or children are best resolves through mutual understanding and agreement by parents. However, should this not be possible, the matter is resolved in court through the assistance of solicitors.

At Wembley Solicitors, we can offer professional legal help and advice at every stage of the proceedings and ensure you have access to your children according to the situation.

Children and finances

Issues of child maintenance are determined according to the financial situation of each parent by examining ownership of all assets and properties. Based on the situation, our solicitors help secure your children's rights in terms of schooling, education and other maintenance based on the duration of your relationship, lifestyle, among other factors.

Children court orders

It is possible for parents to have disputes concerning the upbringing of children despite undergoing a mediation process. In such instances, a parent can apply for children court orders, including Residence Orders, Contact Orders, Specific Issue Orders and Prohibited Steps Orders.

Upon the application of the order, a court will consider what is in the best interests of the child based on education, emotional and physical needs, the child's feelings, wishes, age, background and any harm or injuries he or she has suffered.

Contact access arrangements

Contact Access Arrangements can be important if disputes arise between parents with regard to when each of them can contact and meet the child. It is in your best interests to avoid angry confrontations with the parent and take the required legal advice and action through one of our solicitors.

Child access arrangements come under The Children Act 1989 and The Protection of Children Act 1999. Our solicitors can ensure any decision you take conform to these regulations.

Extended family law

If the parents are divorced or separated and the future of the child is in doubt, the extended family law can be applied to ensure the child has contact and interaction with grandparents and other relatives. Although grandparents can only assume legal status as guardians, the court can decide that it is best for the child to have sufficient communication with extended family members.

Leave to remove application

Sometimes a parent may wish to take the child abroad to stay with him or her for a number of months that can be against the wishes of the other parent. In this case, the parent who wishes to take the child for a lengthy stay must apply for a leave to remove application based on the advice of an experience family court solicitor.

At Wembley Solicitors, we can ensure the application is issued with care by considering the interests of the other parent to avoid disputes. If the dispute persists, we will help both parties resolve their differences through mediation.

Parental responsibility

As a parent, it is essential that you are aware of your legal rights and duties as a parent. The Children Act 1989's Parental Responsibility concept outlines in great detail the responsibilities and duties of a parent with the child and finances.

Under parental responsibility, the parent is obliged to conform to various non-financial duties to fulfil the rights of the child. Parental responsibility can also be extended to guardians through the agreement with the biological mother of the child or with both parents along with witnesses in a court.

Prohibited steps order

A prohibited steps order is when the court intervenes to stop a parent from undertaking an action related to the child. If a prohibited steps order is filed against a parent, the court, for instance, can prevent that parent from evicting the child from the home or taking the child abroad for a lengthy stay.

Each parent is required to know under what situations and conditions they can make an order after consulting our solicitors.

Specific issue choice of school

Parents can also have a dispute with regards to what choice of school their child or children should go to after they have undergone a divorce or separation. In such cases, it is proper for them to seek specialist legal guidance and advice from solicitors to ensure it does not lead to a lasting impact on family relationships.

One or both parents can apply for a Specific Issue Order that can help resolve the dispute that can oversee what choice of school the child should go to, as well as whether the child should receive medical treatment. The court will give first preference to the child's welfare and then consider the concerns of each parent before giving a final verdict.

At Wembley Solicitors, we have a wealth of experience handling a range of disputes and concerns relating to family law and child custody and can offer extend our legal expertise to resolve your differences.

It is important to represent your case through a professional solicitor who can provide reasoned arguments in a court proceeding and ensure your expectations are met.

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