When a couple with children gets divorced or separated, the child custody law determines who takes responsibility of the child’s care, residence and education. In simpler terms, a decision has to be made on where the child will stay after parental breakup.
Such an arrangement is called ‘child custody’. But in recent times, it is commonly called ‘child residency’.
In many cases, both parents can come to an agreement on child residency. When the parents cannot agree, a good alternative is mediation. If mediation does not work either, it becomes necessary to involve the Court.
Usually, only the worst kind of disputes end up in courts. And in all such cases, the most affected individual is the child. In the end, however, it may work out well for the child. Why do we say that?
When making the final decision about child residency, the Court’s chief concern is the wellbeing of the child. The Court will assess each parent’s situation, background and capabilities and then make a decision that is in the best interests of the child.
More often than not, both parents agree on Joint Residency. Joint Residency means that each parent gets an equal amount of time with the child and both parents can participate in any decision that affects the child.
If the parents are unable to agree on specific living arrangements for the child, the Court makes a decision on their behalf.
Joint Residency works perfectly for modern families because, in a modern family, both father and mother work outside the home and both are closely involved with the child’s care at home. Joint residency allows both parents to have an equal share in caring for the child physically and financially.
Third Party Involvement
While most disputes are between parents, sometimes a third person may also try to get child residency. Mostly, this happens when the child’s parent is dead or incapacitated.
Also, if the couple is not married, there may be a dispute on who should make provisions for the child. Then, too, a third person may get involved.
The Court will ensure that whoever is in the best position to provide for the child is given child residency
In rare situations, the Court may decide that one of the parents has no access to the child at all. However, the parent who has been denied access can reapply for access if his or her circumstances change. The Court will carefully examine the evidence of change of circumstances and reconsider its decision.
Changing Child Residency
The Court has the right to change its decision on child residency at any point of time in the future. It may consider changing its decision if
- the child is unable to adjust with the new environment
- the parent relocates
- the parent has a significant change in his or her financial situation
When making a decision on child residency, the Court will accept custody arrangements made by the parents as part of the separation agreement. However, it will first examine to see if the arrangements outlined in the agreement are in the child’s best interests.
During the proceedings, the Court will also consider the opinions of other prominent adults in the family including grandparents and step-parents.
If you are looking for legal support to gain access to your child or if you are even in the middle of court proceedings, our 20 plus years of experienced solicitors in child and family matters will be at your best service, feel free to contact us.