Parenting Matters and Child Support
The future care of the children of a broken relationship is one of the most difficult issues facing separated couples. Deciding who the children should live with, and how much time the children should spend with each parent can be one of the most sensitive issues to resolve after a relationship breakdown.
The law in relation to the care of children (other than children who are subject to welfare orders, who are governed by different laws) is covered by the Family Law Act 1975. In regards to children, this legislation is based on the principle that the best interests of the child are paramount. Put simply, the law looks as the situation as: “children have rights, parents have responsibilities”
The best interests of the child are considered with reference to a number of factors, and the court begins with the proposition that each parent should have equal and shared responsibility in major decisions in respect of their children’s lives. This also includes the child’s right to maintain a personal relationship and have direct contact with each parent on a regular basis, and the need to protect the child from physical or psychological harm.
Separated couples can make decisions about their children in a number of ways. They may be able to agree between themselves about who the child should live with and how much contact they should have with the other parent.
Where the parties cannot agree, they may attempt Family Dispute Resolution or Mediation to attempt to negotiate with the other party and enter into a Parenting Plan. If this is not successful, then a party wishing to formalise an agreement may seek a Parenting Order from the court.
Under the present rules, a person cannot make an application to the court for orders in relation to children until they have attempted some form of dispute resolution or mediation with the other parent.
At Kydon Segal Lawyers we can assist in the negotiation and formalisation of arrangements for your children. Our experienced team is also able to assist grandparents in exercising their rights, which can sometimes otherwise be overlooked.