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Divorce | What about the children?

The breakdown of human relationships can cause great stress, anxiety and problems. The process of separation and divorce is rarely easy.

Our aim is always to attempt to deal with divorce as painlessly as we can. While this cannot always be achieved – much depends on an individual client’s own requirements and the way in which the other party to the case proceeds – we will always attempt to seek such a course for you. We will look to solutions to solve any problems between the parties and not to add to the antagonism.

Arrangements for children

If there are children involved in your relationship, you cannot apply for a decree absolute unless the court is satisfied that satisfactory arrangements have been made for them. When the petition is filed, a statement is given to the court setting out the arrangements which have been made for the children. If the court is concerned that the arrangements may not be satisfactory, it can require the parties to attend a hearing at which the arrangements for the children will be considered.

Children – Parental responsibility

Who is responsible for the welfare of the children when a marriage breaks up?

Where children are born during the course of the marriage, both parents have parental responsibility.

Parental responsibility is defined as:-

“All the rights, duties, powers, responsibility and authority which by law a parent has in relation to a child and his property”.

The courts are often asked to decide disputes between divorcing parents relating to their children.

The guiding principle of family law is that the interests of the children are paramount.

The Children Law

Disputes concerning children are dealt with in accordance with the Children Law.

The underlying philosophy of this Act is that courts should not become involved unnecessarily with disputes between parties concerning their children. The courts take the view that litigation concerning children can be harmful to the children and should therefore be discouraged. The idea is that wherever possible parents should sort out their differences through negotiation.

The court will take into account a number of factors when deciding a dispute relating to child.

These include:-

  • The wishes and feelings of the child so far as they are ascertainable, taking into account the age and understanding of the child;
  • The child’s physical, emotional and educational needs;
  • The likely effect on the child of any change in the child’s circumstances;
  • The child’s age, sex, background and characteristics of the child which the court considers relevant;
  • Any harm which the child has suffered or is at risk of suffering;
  • The capability of each of the child’s parents (and of any other person in relation to whom the court considers the question to be relevant) to meet the child’s needs; and
  • Finally, the court will look at the range of powers available to it under the Children Act and the proceedings in question.

What type of orders can a court make?

Orders which the court can make include the following:-

  • A residence order – an order settling the arrangements to be made as to the person with whom the child is to live;
  • A contact order – an order requiring the person with whom the child lives to allow the child to visit, stay with or otherwise have contact with some other specified person;
  • A specific issue order – an order giving directions to decide a specific question in connection with any aspect of parental responsibility;
  • A prohibited steps order – an order that a specified step shall not be taken in respect of the child without the court’s consent.

Either parent in a divorce may apply to the court for any of the above orders. In this way disputes as to who the child should live with, who the child should see, where the child should go to school, whether or not the child should be allowed to be taken out of the country, etc, can be determined by the Royal Court.

How Parslows can help

Parslows Divorce, dissolution and family law team provide an exceptional service to all our clients.

Our divorce lawyers are focused on providing you with expert advice with a truly personal service.

We advise on all aspects of family law: whether it be advice on divorce, dissolution of a partnership or financial settlements we can assist.

Our clients are pleased with our service and fees, we are confident you will too.

For further information please do not hesitate to call 630530 or email us on familylaw@parslowsjersey.com

The information and opinion expressed in this briefing does not purport to be definitive or comprehensive and are not intended to provide professional advice. For specific advice, please contact Parslows, We are not responsible for, and do not accept any responsibility or liability in connection with, the content of this document or any reliance upon it

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