We specialise in family law at Higgins Miller and that means we’re used to dealing with issues such as wills and probate, adoption and divorce. What all of these issues have in common is that they deal with some of the most stressful and seismic life-events an individual can be put through. That’s why the support and advice we offer our clients always blends up to the minute legal expertise with emotional support and it’s also why we’re more than happy to offer advice on specific areas such as child custody divorce.
The child custody divorce aspect of the end of any marriage is often the most contentious and emotive, and that’s easy to understand why. While practical issues of money and property can often be agreed between the two parties, the question of what is best for a child has an emotional component which makes it much more difficult to deal with. Whether you’re involved in a divorce case or the dissolution of a civil partnership, questions such as where a child will live and how much time they will spend with each parent often prove to be the most difficult to settle, particularly against the acrimonious backdrop of the majority of divorce cases. The child custody divorce lawyers working at Higgins Miller are ready and waiting to offer help which is strictly confined to this single aspect of any divorce if that’s what is needed, and our system of fixed fees means that clients can access our support without worrying that costs might spiral out of control. A child custody divorce is a difficult thing for a family to go through, but our expertise and experience will help to keep things running as smoothly as possible, and will ensure that the well-being of the child in question always remains at the centre of everyone’s thinking.
Any child custody divorce case revolves around coming to an arrangement which protects the rights of the child and ensures they have a relationship with each parent, unless an issue such as risk of harm makes this impossible. In the best case scenario the parents should be able to come up with a set of child arrangements between them, deciding aspects such as which parent a child will live with and how much time they will spend with the other parent. In the majority of cases the child will remain in the family home with the parent who has been most personally responsible for looking after them, while the non-resident parent spends a set period of time with them and contributes maintenance toward their upkeep. If the children are old enough to voice an opinion then their wishes should be taken into account when settling a child custody divorce case, and other factors which impact on the nature of the arrangement reached include:
- The age of the child
- Their emotional, physical and educational needs
- How a change in circumstances, such as one parent needing to relocate for work, would affect them
- The degree to which either parent has been the primary carer for the child
- Whether factors such as domestic violence mean that there is a risk of the child being harmed
If both parties in a child custody divorce case agree what is best for the child they can set this out in a parenting plan. This is a written document which can contain as much or as little detail as both parents feel is required. Issues to be included in the plan might include:
- Who the child will live with
- When they will spend time with the non-resident parent and members of the extended family such as grandparents
- How child maintenance will be provided
- How matters dealing with issues such as education and healthcare will be dealt with
- How communication between the parents will continue in the future and which decisions on the child’s welfare and upbringing could be made by individual parents without consultation
It should be noted that a parenting plan shouldn’t include any details of the financial settlements which might have been reached in regard to the division of assets, money and the family home. If these have been agreed it could make sense to access expert legal advice in regard to the child custody divorce aspects of the case, since a parenting plan of this kind, initially at least, is not legally binding. In order to make it legally binding the parties have to obtain an order from the court and it is at this stage that expert legal help in drafting the relevant documents is indispensible. The fact that we offer fixed fee arrangements for services of this kind means that our clients can place what they regard as the most important aspect of the divorce – the future happiness of their children – in the hands of experts without undue stress about the bills they are running up. Even if a court order isn’t needed, the expertise and experience of our child custody divorce lawyers will help to create a document which deals with all of the relevant issues and will provide a good basis for discussion if circumstances change in the future. If you want to find out more about child custody divorce please call us on 0161 429 7251 or email us at [email protected] We’ve recently passed our Cyber Essential accreditation, something which demonstrates our forward-thinking attitude and determination to remain ahead of the competition. The first 20-minute appraisal is provided free of charge, and we’ll give you the first appointment for a fixed fee, so you don’t have to worry about how much our advice is going to cost. This initial meeting can ensure that you understand why social services have made contact and can feel able to move forward with confidence. If you want to explore our wider charging system then please take a look here.