One of the most distressing parts of a separation can occur when there is a dispute concerning children. Trying to decide what is in a child’s best interests whilst also feeling battered and bruised as a parent is not an easy task. The solution will depend on many different factors including; where both parents live (in respect of the children), how old the children are and what the arrangements were before separation.
The law relating to children has changed significantly over the last few years and on 22nd April 2014 The Family and Children Act 2014 came into effect amending the Children Act 1989.
If there is a dispute between parents about where a child should live then Brighton family court may have to make a child arrangements order.
It is important perhaps to remember that actually when Solicitors and Judges are discussing arrangements for the children we are not considering the parent’s right to see their child but instead the child’s right to see their parent.
It has been increasingly common for older children to have a say in a dispute about their care and these days children can sometimes, if appropriate, speak directly to a mediator or write to the Judge.
There is now a presumption that there should be contact between a child and any parent they do not live with. This does not however mean there will be 50-50 shared care or even that there will be direct contact in all cases. However where there are no child protection issues and there has been a relationship between the parent and child before separation the court will expect arrangements to be put in place to allow this relationship to continue.
Wherever there is a dispute involving children the court will encourage parents to resolve the issue between themselves with, if needed, the help of lawyers or a mediator.
There are many resources available to parents to support them at this difficult time and there are some links below to assist you. Should you want or need to obtain legal advice please do not hesitate to contact; Hannah Millrain or Henna Ehsan.