How does Child Custody work in the UK?

Child custody laws in the UK are established on the basis of who should be responsible for supporting and caring for a child after the event of separation or divorce. The term residency is now more commonly used to refer to custody, as it is related to where the child’s main residence is. In most cases, the parents decide on joint custody, which allows the child to spend time with each parent as most parents deem this to be the most beneficial for the child’s upbringing. This also allows for both parents to take any important decisions together. However, in some cases, the parents cannot amicably reach an agreement on custody and this is when the court will have to make a decision. In such cases, each parent’s circumstances and behavior are carefully assessed before a decision is made on who is given custody.

The most common and preferred solution for many separated couples is joint residency as it is deemed to be the most beneficial for the children. However, there are no laws that state that a child should live with either the mother or the father. Negotiation between the parents will have to take place on residency for the child based on what will be best for the child. However, in many cases, the parents consider only their own interests and preferences, and this is when disputes arise and the courts will have to intervene. Using a mediator is a way of avoiding this type of conflict as a way of avoiding the matter going to court. In the case that the mediation is unsuccessful, then the courts will need to be involved to settle the case appropriately.

The separated parents submit their agreement on child custody uk to the court for it to be reviewed. As long as the agreement takes into account the child’s interests, the agreement will most likely be accepted. It is also often the case that these agreements include the role of the grandparents or other influential adults in the child’s life. If the circumstances of either parent change, then changing the child’s residency is always possible. Evidence will need to be submitted to prove that either parent is now unable or able to provide the stability needed for the child.

Many factors are taken into account by the court when deciding on the best interests of the child. Depending on the child’s age, their wishes and feelings are considered as principal elements towards the decision. The effect the post-separation changes will have on the child are also crucial in how the custody will be appointed. If the child is at any possible risk of harm, then this would also completely sway the custody rights to the better suited parent. Essentially, the criteria behind the ability of the parent to meet the child’s needs is what is assessed and used to make a decision.

The parent which the child will remain with is known as the resident parent and the other parent as the non-resident parent. It is in the non resident parent’s duty to spend an agreed time with the child and contribute financially towards their care. This is otherwise known as paying child maintenance. Some couples can also agree on shared residence and if the child is old enough, then they can highly influence this decision.

A parent may be excluded from having contact with a child if deemed to be not suitable for the child’s upbringing. However, this decision can be reversed at any moment through an appeal to the courts to prove that the parent’s behaviour or circumstances have changed and are now adequate for the child. Expert family lawyers London can be very helpful when dealing with such a situation as the appeal process can be complicated and the parent in question might lose hope after numerous unsuccessful applications. The court will always review and reconsider giving access to the parent if they provide sufficient evidence and make a sound application.


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