Arrangements and Financial Provision Relating to Children in York, Wetherby & Malton
One of the most challenging aspects of divorce is deciding where your children will live and when they will spend time with each parent. You must also establish how your children’s living expenses will be paid. Many divorcing spouses will try and reach a private agreement about living arrangements and financial provision. However, in cases where this is not possible, these decisions can be made for you through a court order and the Child Maintenance Service.
Ensuring your child’s wellbeing
When a court is called upon to settle a dispute regarding living arrangements, its primary concern is the child’s welfare. The court will look to the ‘welfare checklist’ for guidance, a list of considerations introduced by The Children Act which includes:
- the age, sex and background of the child;
- their physical, educational and emotional needs;
- how they feel and what they would like to happen;
- the likely effect on them due to a change in circumstances; and
- if they are at risk of significant suffering harm.
When you are thinking about arrangements, this list can help you to stay focussed on your child’s needs. If you are worried that your former partner could pose a risk to your child, you should seek advice from a solicitor as soon as possible.
Reaching an agreement
Carefully consider how arrangements will work in practice. It is sensible to decide which holidays will be spent with which parent, as well as how changes to the usual schedule will be handled. If you are having trouble agreeing, mediation can facilitate discussion and support you in reaching a solution.
Guidance from an experienced family lawyer can ensure that your agreement has covered everything
If you cannot reach an agreement
If you cannot come to an agreement, you can apply to the court to make an order on your child’s living and contact arrangements. The judge will place your child’s welfare foremost. Before applying to court, you will usually have to have tried mediation.
The court will not decide on child maintenance payments. Instead, you should apply to the Child Maintenance Service which can calculate maintenance, arrange for the responsible parent to make payments and take action if payments are not forthcoming.
Contact our Child Contact and Custody Lawyers in Yorkshire
At Ware & Kay Solicitors, our capable family lawyers can work to protect your children’s welfare and safeguard their futures, whilst supporting you through the legal process. To find out more about how we can help you, call us today on 01904 716000 (York) or 01937 583210 (Wetherby) or 01653 692247 (Malton), or complete our online enquiry form and we will get back to you right away.