Children Disputes

Where disputes over children arise on divorce or separation, we aim to help parents achieve amicable solutions through negotiation without having to go to court. We encourage clients to try mediation where appropriate.

Where court proceedings are necessary, we are members of the Law Society Children Panel, and have specialist expertise in this area.

Typically court disputes over children are about:

  • Residence - which parent the child should live with (custody), or whether the child should live with both parents (shared residence).
  • Contact – how much, and what sort of contact should the child have with the non-resident parent. In cases where there has been domestic violence the court will look carefully at whether contact with the perpetrator of the violence is in the child's best interests.
  • Specific issues- what school a child should attend, or whether the child should receive certain medical treatment for example.
  • Prohibited steps – determining what a parent cannot do, for example leaving the country or changing a child's school without permission.
  • International – whether a parent should be allowed to take a child to live overseas or to go on a foreign holiday for example, or where one parent has been accused of abducting a child either overseas or into this country.
  • Grandparent contact - disputes over children are not always between parents, sometimes it is grandparents who want contact with their grandchildren. Grandparents do not have an automatic right to see their grandchildren, but they can make an application to the court for a contact order if they can show they have a meaningful and important connection with the child. If the court allows the grandparent to make the application (gives them leave), then the court will make its decision based on whether it is in child's best interests to have contact. Sometimes it may be appropriate for a grandparent to make an application for Residence. Again the grandparent will have to apply for leave, and the court will base its decision on the welfare of the child.

We understand that disputes over children can be distressing and difficult, will try and deal with your case as sensitively as possible.

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