Children - where a child lives and who they spend time with

On this page we explain how we can help divorced and separated couples who would like a parental responsibility agreement.

Where children live
Our specialist solicitors are experienced in advising parents, children, grandparents and guardians on child custody and residence issues.

Terms such as ‘residence’ and ‘contact’ were replaced by ‘child arrangements orders’ in 2014.

When reaching a decision about child residence a court will consider, among other matters:

  • The effects of a change of circumstances on the child
  • The child’s wishes and feelings
  • Their physical, emotional and educational needs
  • Any harm the child has suffered or the risk of harm.

We will make every effort to ensure you achieve the best possible outcome and can offer trained mediation experts to help resolve problems without the need for court action.

How often children see parents and other family members
Our children law solicitors have extensive experience in helping resolve access, contact and visitation issues.

If it is not possible to reach an agreement at first, our solicitors have extensive experience in alternative dispute resolution methods such as collaborative law, ensuring that court action is the last resort.

Where cases have to go to court our solicitors are experienced in representing children, parents and other family members. Any contact order made by the court will outline the type of contact you have, including where the contact will take place and how often.

Parental responsibility
We can provide specialist advice if you are you separated from the mother or father of your child and can’t agree about important decisions relating to their life.

In a marriage, both the mother and father are considered equally responsible for important decisions relating to their child and will automatically have parental responsibility when their child is born.

If the parents are not married then the mother alone will automatically acquire parental responsibility. However, for births that are registered after 1st December 2003, an unmarried father will acquire parental responsibility if he is registered as the father on the birth certificate.

Even if not named on the birth certificate, a father can still acquire parental responsibility by obtaining a court order or by entering into an agreement with the mother which is then registered with the court.

Without parental responsibility you cannot have input into where your child lives, choosing their name, how they are educated, medical treatment, religion, travel and living abroad.

We are experienced in providing advice to divorced and separated couples who are seeking to obtain parental responsibility.

Step-parents and second female parents can also obtain parental responsibility in certain circumstances and we will be able to provide you with comprehensive advice as to the options available to you.

Seeking help from Boys & Maughan
Call us today on 01843 234010 or use our contact form on the right hand side of this page for advice.

Since April 2013, with a few exceptions, legal aid is no longer available to pay for lawyers in cases where you:

  • Are asking for or opposing contact between a child and a parent
  • Can’t agree about which parent a child should live with, or
  • Want to apply for parental responsibility.

We offer fixed fee services to clients in these circumstances.

Legal aid is still available for mediation. However, you will only qualify for legal aid for mediation if your income is below a certain level.

Further reading
Parenting through separation is a guide that aims to give parents access to information and support that helps them throughout their parenting journey, through separation, divorce and beyond.