When parents split up, they stop being a couple, but do not stop being parents. Therefore, whether married or not, there are steps which we can help you take to work towards positive parenting after parting for the benefit of your child.
Here are some of the important facts we think you need to know about:
- Parental Responsibility – this is the responsibility of a parent to be involved in all important issues concerning their child. Common examples include changing a child’s surname, education, medical choices and travel abroad. Married parents both share parental responsibility, but whether an unmarried father shares parental responsibility with an unmarried mother can depend on when the child was born and whether the father is named on the child’s birth certificate.
- Legal Terms – Residence (aka Custody) and Contact (aka Access or Visitation) are legal terms which are often misunderstood and misused. What is more important than the correct use of the precise legal terms, is for both parents to try and work positively together with each giving careful consideration to what is best for their child.
- Equality of Parenting – From April 2014, new law came into force which introduced the legal term Children Arrangements and the principle that both parents should be involved in their child’s life unless there is good reason why this shouldn’t happen for the child’s welfare. However, the fact that both parents are equal in the eyes of the law, does not mean that the law expects a child to spend equal time with each parent.
- Dialogue – Whilst some separating parents can calmly discuss future arrangements for their child and reach an agreement between themselves, this is often easier said than done. However, even if you have a serious disagreement, there are still several options to try in order to avoid an expensive court battle; these include the Collaborative Family Law process and Family Mediation.
- Non-legal Support – to help individuals and couples achieve the best outcomes for their child, we work closely with a range of local professionals who specialise in helping parents. This is because parents often need non-legal advice which other professionals are better trained and experienced to provide than lawyers. See our useful links for more information.
- Child Arrangement Plan – when an out of court agreement is reached, parents and children can benefit from the certainty of having a written plan, which we can help you prepare. A constructive approach will lay the best foundations for your child to feel settled with the new family situation.
Contact the Family Team on 01202 849 242 for a free telephone consultation about your circumstances and to ask any questions.