Children and Divorce Overview

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A child holding stick figure drawings of a male and female torn down the middle showing the impact of divorce on children

Arrangements for Children in Divorce or Separation

When it comes to couples with children, the complexity of the divorce and separation process can increase.  At KMJ Solicitors, we have a team of London divorce lawyers who specialise in all areas of family law. This includes matters relating to child law. They will be able to assist you with any advice or services you need.

On this page, you’ll find an in-depth and easy-to-understand overview of children and separation. We’ll focus on the crucial aspects of making child arrangements if your relationship comes to an end.

Making arrangements for your children

When it comes to children and separation, the top priority for everyone involved should be finding the best possible outcome for the children. You and your partner will usually be able to avoid a court hearing if you are able to agree on the following:

  • Where the children will live
  • The time they will be spending time with each parent

Make an agreement legally binding with a family lawyer

Hiring a family lawyer will allow you to define this agreement. This does not necessarily have to be by Court Order. A child should never be used as a pawn and this will help to protect them from any further upset. Mediation will assist you in the agreement process, with the aim of avoiding complications or lengthy court battles.

To make your agreement legally binding, you can get your solicitor to draft a ‘consent order’. This legal document will put your agreement into writing and establish where the child will live when they will spend time with each parent, and what types of arrangements will take place (phone calls, etc.). From here, you’ll need a family lawyer to assist you with the necessary forms and paperwork to get your consent order approved by a court.

What if the parents can’t agree on terms?

The parents (or carers) must attempt mediation. If you still can’t agree on childcare arrangements, you’ll need to apply for a court order. Each case varies, so this could be a quick process or one that’s drawn out over several court hearings. Legal assistance from a family lawyer is recommended.

The type of court order you apply for will depend on the aspects of your agreement that are being contested. The following are the types of court orders that can relate to arrangements for children:

A child arrangement order

This will decide where your child lives when they see each parent and the arrangements for the time they spend with each parent. These are the three points that need to be agreed upon to avoid a court hearing in the first place.

A specific issue order

This order is used to settle specific aspects of a child’s upbringing, such as the school they go to or whether they will have a religious education.

Court orders can be daunting and confusing. A family lawyer will assist you to ensure that all paperwork is filled in correctly to avoid delays or refusals of forms due to errors.

Although both parents (or carers) agreeing on child arrangements during separation is the ideal situation, it’s not always possible. Parents often have a very different idea of what’s best for the children. No matter if you agree or disagree, legal advice throughout your separation is the best course of action to make sure that everyone is happy with the outcome and give your children the best quality of life post-separation.

Are you looking for a family lawyer to help with child arrangements during divorce? KMJ Solicitors are a team of London divorce solicitors who specialise in all areas of family law. Get in touch today for a FREE no-obligation consultation.

Clayton spent five years working in family law with a firm in Australia before moving to the UK in 1999. He deals with all aspects of family law, specialising in all family matters, offshore trusts, company structures, international law, prenuptial agreements, high net worth cases and cohabitation law.