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Family Law

Your Basic Rights During a Child Contact Dispute

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A breakdown of a relationship often brings along many difficulties and hard choices regarding child care. For parents, a child contact dispute can be one of the most stressful and difficult situations they could endure, especially if they do not know what to expect. It’s important to know your basic child contact rights so that you have a fair playing field during the child contact dispute.

Here is some more information about your child contact custody rights.

 

Child Arrangements Order or previously known as a Contact or Residence Order

A Child Arrangements Order, previously known as, contact or residence orders, is an order that refers to where the children’s main residence will be following the break-up of the child’s parents or how often they will see the absent parent. There are no longer separate contact and residence orders, they are both known as Child Arrangements Orders. If you have been involved in a child dispute case or will be involved in one, then you may have heard of ‘the welfare of the child being paramount’ or  ‘best interests of the child’. This is commonly used to determine Child Arrangements Orders.

There are a few factors that determine the outcome of children cases although case law may define the standard differently.

  1. Examining each parent’s historical role in nurturing the child since birth.
  2. The physical, emotional and educational needs of the child.
  3. Any harm including emotional harm the child may have been exposed to or are likely to experience with change.
  4. The child’s wishes and feelings.

 

Shared Residence

Shared residence, which is also known as a shared care arrangement within a Child Arrangements Order, is when the children share residency with both parents. This type of Order enables the child to spend equal amounts of time with both parents and this also allows both parents to have equal involvement in major decisions that can impact the child’s life. The time the child spends with each parent does not have to be equal in order for such a Child Arrangements Order to be adopted.

A shared care arrangement has numerous benefits for both the children and the parents, including:

  • Both parents have parenting responsibilities.
  • Separated parents are able to see their children more regularly and they will be able to have more involvement in their children’s lives.
  • The children will be able to have two homes, which provides them with more stability and security.

 

Parental Responsibility/Specific Issue or Prohibited Steps Order

Parental Responsibility means the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities, and authority a parent has for a child. You acquire Parental Responsibility automatically as a mother upon giving birth to the child. As a father, it is not as simple. Fathers acquire Parental Responsibility in certain circumstances such as being named as the father upon the child’s birth certificate (from 1 December 2003) or being married to the mother, obtaining a Parental Responsibility Order from the court, or by getting a Parental Responsibility agreement.

When both parties have parental responsibility and cannot agree upon how to raise their child then disputes occur. An example of such a dispute could be where the child will attend school, or which religion the child will follow. That is when an application to the Court is usually required to resolve such issues. They are known as Specific Issue Orders.

There could be a dispute regarding one parent wanting to take the child abroad whereby the other parent does not agree. Both have Parental Responsibility and thus both have an equal say. In this situation, a Prohibited Steps Order may be required to prevent one parent from taking the child abroad until the court considers whether this is in the best interests of the child.

 

Contact Us for Child Dispute Services

If you’re located in the West Midlands or the surrounding areas and you would like advice or help from our expert family solicitors, then please get in touch with us. We can provide professional child dispute services and discuss your situation and needs.

Call us on 0121 356 4556 or you can email us at enquires@jmwilsonsolicitors.com. We’re always happy to help.

 

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