If you are considering divorce, separation or dissolution of a civil partnership, your first concern will probably be about where your children will live and how they will retain contact with both parents.
When you separate from each other, you will both continue to be parents. Therefore, it is important to try and ensure that you can continue to co-operate on what is best for your children. This firm agrees with the group 'Resolution' (www.resolution.org.uk) that a constructive approach through the divorce or separation will lay the best foundations for the children to feel settled with the new family relationships.
Carla Hull Solicitors Limited offer a choice of options for dealing with matters relating to children. Carla Hull is a qualified Solicitor-Advocate so can assist you effectively throughout a Court process. In addition she is one of a handful of local lawyers to be qualified in collaborative law, which offers a more flexible and often more civilised manner in which to resolve any disputes. We can also guide you through negotiations and the mediation process, if either of these options best suit your circumstances.
We will encourage you to attempt to reach agreement regarding the children between yourselves initially. If matters cannot be agreed we will guide you through the options available to you in order to resolve a dispute.
It may be necessary to make an application to the Court in order to resolve a dispute about a child. Section 8 of the Children Act 1989 applies regarding the following types of dispute, amongst others:
• Issues relating to where a child should live;
• Issues relating to contact;
• Issues relating to a child being taken on holiday, or abroad to live;
• Issues relating to grandparents;
• Issues relating to schooling;
• An application to allow something to happen or to prevent something happening with a child;
Rather than considering the 'rights' of parents, family law talks of 'parental responsibility' for a child. If a child's parents were married when the child was born, both will have parental responsibility for the child. A father who was not married to the child's mother when the child was born, will not automatically have parental responsibility but can acquire it by agreement with the child's mother or by applying to a court (under Section 8 of the Children Act 1989). New rules from 1 December 2003 say that a father who is not married to the child's mother will acquire parental responsibility if he jointly registers the child's birth.