For a FREE, no obligation chat, please give us a call now. Talk to us now 01277 362 332

Talk to us now

Do you need help with the following:

Cannot find what you are looking for? call us on 01277 362332 to speak to one of our solicitors.

Disputes about children

Where a child should live and how often they should see family members can lead to disagreements.

Disputes about children

It is often distressing for parents, children and other family members to disagree about arrangements for children.

If you are not living with the other parent of your child, we can help you make legally binding arrangements to regulate the situation.

We have many years’ experience of representing parents, children and other family members in relation to disputes about where children live and who they should see. We understand how stressful this can be and we always offer objective advice in a sensitive way.

Often, disputes about children follow on from relationship breakdown. Sometimes, it seems like everybody loses out. Children ideally want to live with both parents and each parent wants their children living with them. We can help you make the best arrangements in an imperfect situation – focusing on what is best for the child or children involved.

Applications by one parent (or another family member) to take a child to the other side of the country to live– or even abroad – can be particularly difficult and complex. Where will the child live, where will he or she go to school, how often will he or she see the other parent and other family members, who will pay for airfares…? These are all questions that we have, at one time or another, helped our clients to grapple with.

Sometimes one parent makes serious allegations that the other parent has harmed a child. If you are the one who has heard your child say that something bad has happened it is very distressing. If you are on the receiving end of allegations that you consider to be untrue, you are likely to be angry and hurt. Sometimes the Court has to become involved to decide the truth of what is being suggested, because the outcome will have a big impact upon whether it is safe for the child to spend time with the adult that it is alleged has caused harm.

Sometimes there are allegations of domestic violence.

These issues are difficult and complex. They can be lengthy and they can also be expensive. Because they affect your family and your children they require sensitive handling and the ability to negotiate and mediate solutions to avoid the acrimony of Court proceedings if possible.

Whatever your situation and circumstances, we can guide you through the process, help you to make the right choices for yourself and your family and ultimately represent you robustly in Court to secure the outcome that you seek.

Our specialist advisers are ready to help with your matter now. Call us today.

Some frequently asked questions about disputes about children

Will my children automatically live with their mother if we separate?
There is no legal presumption that a child should live with either parent over the other. There is a presumption that children need to spend good quality time with each parent.
Will the Court order that my child should spend 50% of the time with me and 50% with the other parent?
It depends on what the Court thinks is in the best interests of the child. There is no hard and fast rule that time will be shared 50:50. If your child is at school, it might be too disruptive to try to split school term times equally. This might mean that the child spends more time with the other parent at weekends or during school holidays.
Can the other parent take my child abroad without my permission?
Again, it depends. If there are no Court orders in place concerning your child and you have parental responsibility then the other parent should seek permission from the Court if you do not agree. However, if there is an order saying that your child should live with the other parent, then there can be a trip abroad without your express consent for a period of up to one month. As with other decisions concerning children, it is always best to try to discuss and agree if possible.
How would the Court decide an application for a child to live abroad?
As with all Court proceedings concerning children, the decision will be made on the basis of what is in the child’s best interests. Every decision will be situation specific. However, the Court will be interested to know what the plans are for accommodation, education, health provision and when and how the child will continue to spend time with the other parent. The Court will also carefully consider the impact on the child of being living so far away from the other parent.
I don’t think it is good for my child to spend time with the other parent. S/he isn’t looked after properly there and comes back using bad language, grubby and unkempt. Can I stop contact?
Any attempt to reach agreement about any of the issues is encouraged. You will not be able to issue a Court application without going to at least one mediation session unless there are exceptional circumstances e.g. domestic violence or the application is extremely urgent. Mediated solutions are much better for families and children and the Court is likely to encourage mediation, negotiation and discussion at every stage.
Will I be forced to go to mediation?
Any attempt to reach agreement about any of the issues is encouraged. You will not be able to issue a Court application without going to at least one mediation session unless there are exceptional circumstances e.g. domestic violence or the application is extremely urgent. Mediated solutions are much better for families and children and the Court is likely to encourage mediation, negotiation and discussion at every stage.
Will I be eligible for Legal Aid?
The government has severely restricted the availability of Legal Aid for this kind of matter and it is recognised that this is causing injustice to families. However, unless and until the rules change you will only be eligible for Legal Aid if there has been recent domestic violence perpetrated by the other parent or if there are documented Child Protection concerns. Even then, your eligibility will be means tested. We can undertake a quick online means assessment and can advise you about whether you are likely to be eligible for Legal Aid.

Related areas of interest


Here is what some of our clients say about us.

"I cannot thank you enough for your help and time you took out of your day and evening to help, I am so very grateful. I honestly don’ t know what I would have done without your help."

Our Disputes about children team

Deborah Baxter

Deborah Baxter
Office: Ongar

Laura Carr

Laura Carr
Office: Ongar

Share this page

Baxter Harries @BaxterHarries - 4 Dec
Baxter Harries is delighted and proud that our CEO Deborah Baxter has been shortlisted for the Private Client indiv… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…