What Are My Rights To My Children In Divorce?
When a couple decides to divorce and go their separate ways, their children will always be the biggest concern.
There are many questions that parents need to decide upon, the main question being: where will the children live? & how will we split our time?
This article will outline the rights of the children and parents in divorce & separation giving you a clear answer to where you legally stand in regards to your children.
Divorce Rights in Regards to Mothers, Fathers & Children.
Parents Rights in Divorce
Both parents continue to have parental responsibilities when separated, these include:
- provide a home for the child
- protect and maintain the child
- disciplining the child
- choosing and providing for the child’s education
- agreeing to the child’s medical treatment
- naming the child and agreeing to any change of name
- looking after the child’s property
If you have parental responsibility for your child but do not live with them, the other parent must still include you in important decisions about their lives.
Both Parents must continue to support their child financially and both parents have the right to have contact with their child. However, there is no law in regards to how often.
The majority of divorcing parents can come to an agreement between themselves but if you cant, the courts can decide for you and have it written into a legally binding agreement to ensure that both parties abide by it.
Children’s Rights in divorce
- Each child has the right to continue to have an independent relationship with each parent.
- Each child has the right to have a conflict-free relationship with each parent.
- You should never make your children arrange or make any big decisions with regards to child custody issues.
- Each child has the right to be financially supported by both parents, regardless of how much time each parent spends with the child.
- Each child has the right to be physically safe and adequately supervised when in either parents care.
- Each child has the right to continue to have a relationship with other significant adults in their lives, like grandparents and cousins.
- Each child has the right to expect that both parents will continue to follow the care plan, honouring specific commitments for scheduled time with the child.
- Each child has the right to both parents being told about medical, dental, educational, extracurricular, and legal matters concerning the child unless it’s advised by professionals not to.
How much contact should each parent have?
There is no right and wrong answer to this question, however, the important thing to remember is that despite the issues you and your spouse may have and as long as the non-resident parent does not present any danger to the child then the non-resident parent does almost always have rights to contact.
Many couples will agree for the children to stay in the home with the parent that normally provides the most care for their children and arrange for the non-resident parent to see them at weekends, school holidays etc.
If the parent with the children is not allowing the non-resident parent to have contact then the non-resident parent can apply to the court to see the children and ask a Judge to decide on when the parent can have contact.
This is an expensive and highly emotive way to get contact and even if the parent who has the children is ordered to let you see the children even if threatened by fines and imprisonment they may still refuse.
Child Custody Rights in divorce
In the UK often, parents maintain joint custody of their child which simply means their child spends 50% of their time with one parent and 50% of their time with the other.
However, that’s not always the case and there isn’t actually any specific law that states how often each parent should have their child.
How do courts deal with children in a divorce?
Factors the courts take into consideration in regards to children in divorce:
- the financial needs of the child;
- the income, earning capacity (if any), property and other financial resources of the child;
- any physical or mental disability of the child;
- the manner in which he was being and in which the parties to the marriage expected him to be educated or trained;
- whether child maintenance needs to be paid from one parent to another
How courts decide on child contact:
Every family is different and provides different circumstances. However, in every situation, the child’s welfare will always be put first. Some key factors that the court will take into consideration are as follows:
- the wishes and feelings of the child- depended on age
- any risks of harm or previous thermal encounters
- the physical, emotional and educational needs of the child
- how the child will cope with the change in routine
- the child’s age, sex and personality
- each parents ability to meet the needs of the child
How the courts deal with finances in regards to children:
The first considerations the court will make are in regards to your children. they will always ensure that the child needs are met before anything else this includes deciding where they will live with the custodial parent.
This often means that they get to stay in the marital home if of course, the available assets permit.
We have agreed on how we will split the time of our children, do we have to write it in a legal agreement?
A shared parenting agreement is not required by law when a couple separates but they’re a vital component within the divorce process if there are children involved.
They ensure that both parents stick to what has been arranged and if they don’t legal action can be taken.