In the event of a divorce or a separation, parents wonder who will be granted child custody during divorce. While the welfare of children is every parent’s number one priority, discussing arrangements often leads to clashes and misunderstandings. These can turn into serious disputes that ultimately leave the two parties unable to agree on who should have custody, access and responsibility for the child.
What does the UK law say about child custody in a divorce?
In the United Kingdom, child custody following a divorce is related to parental responsibility and residency status. This means that the parent who holds parental responsibility needs to provide housing for the child.
In most cases, child custody is granted to the mother, although the father still holds contact rights and can apply for arrangements. According to the 1989 Children Act, the mother automatically has parental responsibility and will not lose it after a divorce.
The father, on the other hand, needs to meet some requirements to hold parental responsibility. He would either have registered parental responsibility with the Court; be married to the mother when the child was born; be listed on the birth certificate.
What is shared custody?
Shared custody or joint custody, referring to shared residency or parenting, is becoming more and more popular across divorced couples in the UK. Basically, shared custody allows the child to spend the same amount of time with each parent, while both have equal involvement in important decisions affecting the child.
This type of custody can be agreed by the parents themselves or through the help of a mediator. Mediation services can help resolve misunderstandings and find a middle ground on which to compromise.
When mediation is not an option, parents can choose to apply for a child arrangements order, and the Court will decide who will be granted responsibility for the care of a child.
What do we mean by child arrangements orders?
The concept of child custody in a divorce has had many names, from sole custody, contact, access to residency orders. Today, the Family Court uses the term “child arrangements order” to refer to issues such as which parent a child should live with and the amount of time they should spend with each parent.
How can I improve my chances to get child custody?
When making a child arrangement order, The Court will always put the child’s best interests first. However, there are several things a parent can do to improve their chances to get custody. For example, improving their relationship with the child and taking a more active role in their everyday life; providing a safe environment and a clean home; keep extensive documentation and a record of every interaction with the ex-partner and the child. Hiring an experienced family law solicitor can also maximise the chances to win custody.
If you require help or assistance with child custody or have questions regarding your situation, contact our team today. Our family solicitors at MWG are happy to help with any child custody matters or child arrangement orders. Get in touch on 0161 835 2446, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.