At Grayfords, our solicitors are specialists in child matters. Whether you are concerned about visitation, residency or maintenance we have the experience and expertise to make sure your rights as a parent are protected. We can help with everything from filling out the paperwork, negotiating, and going to court. We will do whatever it takes to ensure that you are listened to from the very beginning and will work tirelessly to achieve the best result for you and your children. Our team will provide you with all the information you need, and we will take care of the entire process, so you can get back to what matters most; being a parent. We also specialise in Grandparents rights. Grandparents naturally worry about their grandchildren during the process of a divorce. We assist grandparents in securing contact rights and making sure they will always be a part of their grandchildren’s lives.
We handle the broad issues concerning child matters which include:
- Child contact and residence
- Financial Matters
- Parental responsibility
- Grandparents and Grandchildren
- Child abduction
Child Contact and Residence
Your children are your first thought in a divorce. We can advise you on the process of making child residence and contact arrangements (sometimes referred to as custody). Grayfords will act on your behalf negotiating with the other parent so you don’t have to. We can also make applications to court if necessary and advocate on your behalf; but whatever happens you can know that we are always on your side. Whatever your concern we are always ready to act; our child custody lawyers are expert negotiators and have extensive experience in securing the best outcome for you and your children. If your case needs a barrister, we will engage the right one for you; our links with a number of top chambers will ensure you have one of the best Barristers in London.
What is Parental Responsibility?
Parental Responsibility is the legal authority to make decisions with regards to a child’s upbringing. It is the decision-making power and authority parents need to provide effective long-term care. An individual that has been granted Parental Responsibility is considered and recognised as the parent of the child. Some important rights and duties within the concept of Parental Responsibility include determining and providing the child’s education, consenting to the child’s medical treatment/marriage/adoption and determining the child’s religion to name a few.
Several individuals during a child’s minority can hold parental responsibility. This is not to be confused with legal parenthood which can only be held by two individuals at any given time. While Parental Responsibility is something a court can award to or remove from a person (though this is very rare), legal parenthood is not.
Parental Responsibility is automatically conferred on all mothers plus the person married or civilly partnered to the mother at the time of birth. An unmarried parent can acquire Parental Responsibility through being shown on a child’s birth certificate or through later agreement between parents or an order of the court.
How does one acquire Parental Responsibility?
Parental Responsibility is automatic if the parents of the child are married. Step-parents can acquire Parental Responsibility with the consent of both parents, or with a court order.
Unmarried fathers or non-birth mothers can acquire parental responsibility if they are registered on the birth certificate, if a Parental Responsibility arrangement is made, or if there is a court order directing that Parental Responsibility be given to that parent.
Parental Responsibility does not affect succession, citizenship or domicile.
Individuals other than birth/other parents may have Parental Responsibility, and more than one person can have Parental Responsibility at the same time.
What is child abduction?
This is when a child has been removed or retained across an international border in contravention of a court order or without the consent of the other person with Parental Responsibility. Unless there is court order saying a child ‘lives with’ a parent (in which case they can travel for up to a month without permission), that parent will require the permission of everyone with Parental Responsibility for international travel (anywhere outside of England and Wales). We can advise on abduction proceedings and have achieved numerous successes in child abduction matters.
While child abduction is a very emotive legal term, parents should be aware that the law on abduction also applies to short trips, holidays, visits to a parent’s homeland, etc. If you have any concerns around such trips then you may wish to seek legal advice in advance of travel.