If you are divorcing your husband or wife and you have children, you will have to make arrangements for their care. You must make arrangements for care of any children under the age of 16 and for any children under the age of 18 who are still in full time education or training.
During the first stage of the divorce process you will have to complete forms to apply to the court for a divorce. As part of this ‘divorce petition’ you will have to explain the reasons for your divorce and you will have to explain the decisions you have made for your children’s care in a ‘statement of arrangements for children’ form. It is not vital that you make decisions about your children’s care with your partner prior to filing for divorce but it will make your divorce a lot easier if you can.
What Decisions Will We Have To Make?
When you talk to your husband or wife about what will happen to your children when you divorce you will have to discuss: –
– Contact with children
These are the main points that will have to be decided upon but sometimes there may be more specific discussions that will occur depending on your situation. For example, you may wish for your children to have a religious education and may want to ensure that this is put down in writing.
How Do We Make Decisions About Looking After Our Children?
Lucky couples are in a position where they are divorcing, but on good terms. In these situations simply discuss all the important matters with your husband or wife and put them in writing when you file for your divorce.
If you cannot make mutually accepted decisions about your children’s care you may need to seek legal advice. You will have to apply for different court orders to address all of the important issues mentioned above – a ‘residence order’ will deal with where your children live, a ‘contact order’ deals with when you will see your child if they do not live with you and a ‘specific issue orders’ deals with matters related to the child’s upbringing. Finally, a ‘consent order’ can be used to enforce maintenance payments. However, going to court to arrange child maintenance is a costly matter and legal aid will not cover all the fees.
Depending upon your income you may be able to apply for legal aid for mediation. During mediation you and your partner will engage in a discussion with a mediator present to ensure that each of you have an equal chance to talk about the matter. Should mediation prove ineffective you may have to go to court and engage in traditional litigation to reach a decision about your children’s care.
Roskell Davies are family law solicitors in Birmingham. To find out how they can help you with your family legal issue visit http://www.roskelldavies.co.uk/family-solicitor-birmingham/
Discuss how to look after your children following a divorce with one of our divorce experts. You can contact us on 0800 142 2901 or locally on 0121 354 1515.
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