Dealing With Separation With Children UK

If your relationship comes to an end – particularly if it has lasted for any substantial length of time – then there are bound to be complex matters to deal with. These might include the degree to which your finances have become entwined and any property which you share together – but none more so than if the relationship has led to children. Here at Higgins Miller we’re used to dealing with matters of family law such as wills and probate and adoption, and this makes us the ideal choice for any couple dealing with a separation. This is particularly true in the case of separation with children UK

When dealing with a separation with children UK issues such as who the children will live with following the separation, how much access the parents will have and how much maintenance will be paid need to be settled as firmly as possible and ideally as quickly as possible. Separation with children UK is a complex and highly emotional process and the emotions – which often include anger and bitterness between the parties – can all too often leak into the discussion over how the children will be looked after. As experts in separation with children UK, we always try to remove emotions of this kind from the equation and persuade our clients to discuss the issues in a calm and respectful manner.   

If the parents in question have been co-habiting rather than actually being married, then the situation regarding separation with children UK can become slightly more complicated. Initially, the issue of who has parental responsibility needs to be established. In simple terms the matter of parental responsibility is dealt with in the following manner: 

  • Any biological mother of a child automatically has parental responsibility for that child 
  • If the father of a child marries the child’s mother prior to the birth, or after the birth, they will also automatically have parental responsibility for that child. The presumption of the law is that, if the couple were married at the time of a child’s birth, then the husband is the biological parent of the child

Separation with children UK is a different matter, of course, and the issue of parental responsibility becomes slightly more complex. If the child in question was born after 1st December 2003 and the father’s name is included on the birth certificate, then they will automatically have parental responsibility. If this is not the case, however, then the father will be able to acquire parental responsibility in the following ways:

  • By reaching an agreement with the mother of the child. This will involve filling in Form C(PRA1) and signing the form at a family court in the presence of:
  • A justice of the peace
  • A justice’s clerk
  • An assistant to a justice’s clerk
  • A court official who has been authorised to administer oaths

Both parents need to show ID and the birth certificate of the child, and the signed agreement will then be lodged with the Family Court. 

A biological father who is not married to the mother of the child – as is the case with a separation with children UK – can also apply to the court to issue a Parental Responsibility order. This application could be made individually, or in combination with an application for a child arrangements order setting out who the child will live and spend time with. Once the order is in place, the father will have Parental Responsibility for the child until they turn 18, or until the order is brought to an end by the court. Once a Parental Responsibility Order is in place, the birth can be re-registered to reflect the fact that the father is a biological parent.  

Traditionally, it has been assumed that a child will live with the mother following a separation with children, but this is not necessarily the case. The ideal scenario following separation with a child UK is for the parents to discuss the issue calmly with each other and reach a set of arrangements on which they can both agree. The aim of these arrangements will be to establish where the child will live, how often they will see each parent and how this access will be arranged. 

One option after a separation with children UK which is relatively new is known as a bird’s nest arrangement. This is an arrangement in which the children stay in the family home and each parent moves in and out according to an agreed schedule. This will create more stability for the child, while allowing them to spend equal time with each parent, but may be prohibitively expensive in that it requires each parent to have a separate home to live in when not in the family home.  

If an agreement can be reached following a separation with children UK then it should be set down in writing in the form of a shared parenting agreement which sets out:

  • Where the child will live
  • What arrangements will be made for contact
  • How financial support will be arranged

A written agreement of this kind isn’t legally binding, but it can be made binding if it is then drafted by experts such as those at Higgins Miller into a consent order

In the vast majority of cases, we will encourage parents to come to their own arrangements, and if this isn’t possible, to use professional mediation. If this still doesn’t solve the problem a court can decide on the basis of what is best for the child and can issue a child arrangements order. The order will be shaped by the following:

  • The wishes of the child 
  • Minimising the disruption in the child’s life
  • The environment offered by each of the parent’s homes
  • The impact the arrangement will have on schooling 

If you want to ask about separation with children UK 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. If you want to explore our wider charging system then please take a look here.

separation with children UK