The family duties and tasks of a solicitor regarding children during a relationship breakdown

Whether you are going through a divorce or separation as a spouse or cohabitee there is often a whole lot of mental and emotional stress involved. It is never an easy journey to come to the point of going through any family dispute and trying to reach an agreement. And more so, it gets even more emotionally tasking when children are involved in balancing the needs for childcare, contact and living arrangements for each parent. Therefore, when a relationship breakdown involves children, it is best to employ an experienced Family Law Solicitor.

The article below will touch on all aspects relating to the duties and tasks involved when dealing with issues relating to children.

Importance of a Solicitor when a child is involved in any relationship breakdown

Any relationship breakdown is emotionally draining and can at times be acrimonious which can impact on the care of the child/children.

A Family Law Solicitor helps you make practical decisions regarding childcare, contact and living arrangements with the right questions to consider:

  • Where will the children stay after the parties have separated?
  • Financial responsibility of each parent towards the child/children, including child maintenance
  • If both parties agree to shared living arrangements and contact, the agreement of how much time the children spend with each parent.

England and Wales laws regarding children

The law surrounding disputes in relation to children is generally covered by the Children Act.   Disputes often arise because parents are not aware of their rights, the law and the determining factors for deciding where the children should live and how much time they spend with the other parent.

Couples can agree an arrangement whereby the child/children spend equal time between the parents after a relationship breakdown and the Courts generally are supportive of shared care arrangements.  However, more often than not couples’ circumstances are not suitable for shared care and disputes arise.  The overriding position taken by the Courts is that a child’s welfare is paramount and a top priority.   In deciding this issue the Court takes a number of factors into account including the wishes and feelings of the child, the age of the child, their physical, emotional and educational needs including health, their age and background and other relevant characteristics, any harm they have suffered or at risk of suffering and how capable each parent is of meeting their needs.

The Court may consider that either parent’s lifestyle/environment/financial status is not suitable for the child’s wellbeing.  Therefore the parent who is more able to care for the child/children often spends more time with them to include where the child/children may be at risk.

Duties and Role of a Solicitor during relationship breakdown concerning children

The role of a Solicitor during relationship breakdown and considering childcare matters is very crucial. That is because the well-being of the child in question is at stake.

  • The Solicitor should ensure that the child’s interests and well-being are kept at the highest priority.
  • According to the circumstances, they should work towards bringing an amicable settlement, where the child spends time with both parents either equally/partially.
  • Family Law Solicitors of both parties should also consider other aspects such as child maintenance, education, housing and other financial support etc.