As long as a parent has parental responsibility, he or she should have an opportunity to be involved in the making of important decisions about their child’s life, such as when the child spends time with each parent and other important people in their lives. At Cordell & Cordell our mission is to protect these parental rights, establishing a playing field that is fair to all parties.
Negotiating Child Custody
When it comes to negotiating child custody, every situation is different and your family needs to make decisions that work best for everyone involved. Some decisions will be easy to make and some will be hard.
When parents separate, emotions can run very high and it can be difficult to know what to do for the best. Parents often feel torn between their own feelings and what is in the child’s best interests.
The law is designed to protect the welfare of children and not to favour one parent over another. As the courts in the UK have made clear, the children of separated parents are entitled to the love and society of both their parents.
Factors Determining Outcome of Custody
If you have ever been involved in a child custody case, or you are about to begin one, you most likely have heard the phrase “best interests of the child”. This is almost universally used to determine custody and visitation issues based on the Best Interests of the Child Standard.
Case law defines this standard differently, but in general, there are certain common-sense factors and themes that appear the majority of the time. The list of factors fall into four categories:
- The historical picture examining each parent’s role in nurturing the child since birth;
- The prospective picture considering the parents’ situations going into the future;
- Status concerns referring to the personality or behavioural traits of each party; and
- The preference of the child.
Types of Child Custody
Depending on the unique context and circumstances of your case, the judge might decide on one of the following custody forms:
- Legal custody. Parents who have legal custody have the right to take legal decisions on behalf of their child(ren) on matters like schooling, religious upbringing and medical care.
- Physical custody. Physical custody determines with whom a child or children live.
- Sole custody. A parent who has sole custody has the exclusive legal and physical custody of a child or children. The other parent may have visitation rights.
- Joint custody. If a couple separates on friendly terms, they might decide to opt for joint custody, sharing either the legal and/or the physical responsibility for their child(ren).
What Are Your Rights As A Father?
A mother automatically has parental responsibility for her child from birth, but the same can’t be said for men. Learn more here about fathers rights during child custody.
You have rights as the father of your child if:
- You are married to the child’s mother
- The child was born on or after 1 December 2003 and you are named on the birth certificate as the child’s father
- The child’s birth certificate originally gave no father’s name but was later renewed to show yours
- You have signed a Parental Responsibility Agreement
- A Magistrate or Justice of the Peace at the Family Court has granted you parental responsibility or an Order of Residency
Even though your relationship with your child’s mother has broken down, you still are legally required to contribute towards your child’s well-being and upbringing.
Depending on your custody arrangement, you might be required to make monthly child support payments. Click here to learn more about how child support is determined in the UK or use our Child Maintenance Calculator to find out how much you or your ex-partner can expect to pay,