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Who Gets Custody?

By: James Bloom - Updated: 27 Jul 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Marriage Relationship Divorce Breaking

Deciding on residency arrangements (previously known as custody) for your children after you break up can be a complicated issue. If you and your partner cannot agree together on where they will live, a court can be asked to decide. Depending on your individual circumstances, this can be a painful process. The courts will only make a residency order if all other options have been exhausted.

Parental Responsibility

When a married couple separate, both mother and father have parental responsibility. If they are unmarried, only the mother has automatic rights in respect of the child, so if they break up, she has the sole right to look after her child in a manner and place as she sees fit.

Since 2002, an unmarried father can also acquire parental responsibility if he jointly registers the child’s birth with the mother. He can also get parental responsibility if both partners sign a Parental Responsibility Agreement. This can be done at any time during the relationship or separation and can also be ordered by a court during or after the separation process.

Whether or not the father has parental responsibility, he is still responsible for the financial support of his children. He can be contacted by the Child Support Agency for this money.

Deciding Residency

One of the forms usually presented at court along with a divorce petition is a Statement of Arrangements, which proposes where and with whom the children will live, schools they will attend, who looks after them and how often they see the other parent.

The divorce petitioner should, as a matter of good practise, present the statement to the other parent for agreement before it is submitted. Courts encourage the parents to reach an agreement without them having to get involved. If you are having trouble reaching an agreement, it may be worth seeing a mediator before you divorce.

Mediators can be very helpful resolving sensitive issues like where your children will live. They provide an organised and constructive environment in which you can look at all the possible options and concerns and decide which is the most beneficial for your children and you. They have a good track record in helping children maintain family relationships. Mediation can be free depending on your circumstances.

At the start of divorce proceedings, the court will set up a conciliation appointment. If this does not result in agreement, the court will get both you and your partner to talk to a CAFCASS officer, from the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Services. If an agreement still cannot be reached, the officer you see will take statements and make a recommendation to the court.

It is important to co-operate with the CAFCASS officer as their opinion is very influential to the court’s decision.

How the Courts Decide

In the 1989 Children’s Act, it states that when the court makes any decision about a child, the child’s welfare must be the court’s ‘paramount consideration’. There is a list of key factors they take into account when making their decision:
  • Your child’s wishes and feelings. These will be given more consideration the older the child is.
  • Your child’s physical, emotional and educational needs. This covers both love & affection and food & housing.
  • The likely effect of a change of circumstances on your child. Their greatest concern here will be causing minimum disturbance to the child.
  • Your child’s age, sex and background. This could include cultural, religious or disability needs.
  • If your child has suffered harm or is at risk of suffering harm. Recently, this also includes any domestic abuse the child has seen or heard.
  • The parents’ capabilities with regard to the child’s needs. This can include assessing whether the non-resident parent is capable of caring for the child. Or whether either parent is impaired by drink or drugs.
  • The range of powers available to the court. There are a range of orders a court can make. Sometimes they decide no order is necessary.
More than half of all cases where residency is ordered by a court result in the mother being awarded sole residency. Around one-fifth result in sole residency being awarded to the father (a significant increase from the 1990s). Joint residency is also awarded in approximately one-fifth of divorces.

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Hi, i am married to a saudi man of which i have known for 10 yrs but married for 1 yr. hes on a eu family member visa and we have a child in the muddle who is going to turn 1 soon. Unfortunately we are divorcing..which has left me torn but its the healthest decision for us and most importantly for our baby son. I know here in the uk you get joint custody but what happens if your afraid your husband will take your son to saudi and never see him again?? I currently have lawyers but my ex is denying the divorce because of his visa and ocf he cares for our son, but in the beginning of our divorce things were pretty bad as he put alot of fear in me and i was soo terrified of him and my sons safety. He emotionaly gets to me & often makes me feel guilty..but for what?for leaving and for my son Im so truamatised by his actions. And in the past he has said he would fight to take my son. What advise would you give me and what can i do??
Karen - 27-Jul-17 @ 2:22 AM
jamjar - Your Question:
Hi my husband I spiltting up can I take my childern with me to my mums

Our Response:
You would have to negotiate this between you, please see CAB link here for further information.
DivorceResource - 25-Jul-17 @ 10:47 AM
hi my husband i spiltting up can i take my childern with me to my mums
jamjar - 24-Jul-17 @ 8:29 AM
Hi My wife and me has been married for 10years and have 2 kids under 7. I'm the sole provider since we been married but have supported my wife and her family with numerous failed business adventures and our main problem is her mother. To keep it short our marriage is falling apart because her mother and father won't stop interfering. I've basically been told by her parents that if we split up... my wife and kids will move in with them and they'll make sure my wife gets all custody. It's a sticky situation but mainly can my wife just take our kids out off our house?
Martin - 15-Jul-17 @ 11:18 PM
Mrsbear - Your Question:
Hi I have a friend who isn't married to his current partner but they have a 3 year old together, he is at a point where he no longer wants to be in the relationship but is staying for the sake of his son who has autism, the mother has already threatened that if he were to leave he would never see his son again l, he doesn't want visitation rights he wants joint custody, the mother does nothing he sorts out all appointments for his sons autism and any health issues along the way, basically with out his dad around he would get the full care he needed for his autism, my question is would he have a hard time getting joint custody.?

Our Response:
Much depends upon the level of caring he does already. For instance, if he works full-time and the mother is a stay-at-home mother, then it is likely the court may continue this arrangement. If your friend splits the caring equally, then he has a better chance, if the matter goes to court. However, it is impossible to predict as much depends upon how determined and to what lengths the mother of his child will go to, to prevent access.
DivorceResource - 13-Jul-17 @ 4:26 PM
Hi I have a friend who isn't married to his current partner but they have a 3 year old together, he is at a point where he no longer wants to be in the relationship but is staying for the sake of his son who has autism, the mother has already threatened that if he were to leave he would never see his son again l, he doesn't want visitation rights he wants joint custody, the mother does nothing he sorts out all appointments for his sons autism and any health issues along the way, basically with out his dad around he would get the full care he needed for his autism, my question is would he have a hard time getting joint custody......?
Mrsbear - 11-Jul-17 @ 8:27 PM
Suhari - Your Question:
A question on behalf of my wife's friend, who is Thai.She is married to an English man, living here on a visa which expires in a year; in order to stay longer she will need a settlement visa. The husband wants a divorce, so this visa will clearly not happen, meaning she will return to Thailand.There is a young child, born in Thailand and with dual citizenship. The husband and his wider family want custody.The wife has no job, since she spends her time looking after the child.In the event of divorce, and given the visa/citizenship situation, what may be the implications for custody?

Our Response:
If the mother is the primary carer of the child, then negotiations between the parents should be the first option. If the mother wishes to remain the primary carer and take the child home to Thailand she will have to request permission from the father. If the father refuses and the matter is passed to the courts, then it is likely the mother will remain the primary carer, as continuity and stability are always deemed to be most important. However, it is difficult to determine what a court may decide as it will always decide upon what it thinks is in the child's best interests.
DivorceResource - 7-Jul-17 @ 12:09 PM
A question on behalf of my wife's friend, who is Thai..... She is married to an English man, living here on a visa which expires in a year; in order to stay longer she will need a settlement visa. The husband wants a divorce, so this visa will clearly not happen, meaning she will return to Thailand. There is a young child, born in Thailand and with dual citizenship. The husband and his wider family want custody. The wife has no job, since she spends her time looking after the child. In the event of divorce, and given the visa/citizenship situation, what may be the implications for custody?
Suhari - 6-Jul-17 @ 9:23 PM
Jen - Your Question:
I Have been married to my husband for 11 years but I don't love him and I want to leave him. We have two children together both aged under 10 and that has kept me going all these years. I am so unhappy though. I am more like his PA than his wife. He suffers with depression and has anger issues but is never violent. I want to leave him, take the children and move closer to my family. They live two hours away. Can my husband stop me from taking the kids? Can he stop me moving so far away?

Our Response:
It is highly unlikely your husband would have grounds to stop you moving two hours away, especially if you do not deny him access to his children. However, you would have to request permission to move and if he will not agree, you could apply to take the matter to mediation, or as a last resort court. Some parents plan to move and hope their ex will not take the matter further, but in cases such as this there is always a risk of a court frowning upon your actions and in extreme cases ruling that you return to the area you have left. It is always easier to try to resolve issues amicably, if you can
DivorceResource - 3-Jul-17 @ 12:06 PM
I Have been married to my husband for 11 years but I don't love him and I want to leave him. We have two children together both aged under 10 and that has kept me going all these years. I am so unhappy though. I am more like his PA than his wife. He suffers with depression and has anger issues but is never violent. I want to leave him, take the children and move closer to my family. They live two hours away. Can my husband stop me from taking the kids? Can he stop me moving so far away?
Jen - 2-Jul-17 @ 8:23 PM
KennyL - Your Question:
My partner and I have been together 5yrs but we aren't married. We have a 2yr old son together and she had a 10yr old girl from her previous relationship (who I don't have PR for). We have recently separated and I have moved in with parents and I took him with me. We are trying to make arrangements for him to see her but it's getting tetchy and I'm thinking court is going to be the only way of resolving things. Since the day he was born I have been the main carer for our boy. I can count on 1 hand the number of times she has bathed him, put him to bed, brushed his teeth, changed his nappies etc. Not only that but I have been the main carer of our 10yr old girl. I have taken and collected her from school for the past 4yrs even joining the school board of governors, I have taken her everywhere she needs to go, made her tea, ensured she's bathed etc. I have txt messages from her stating I am the children's primary carer. She even used to transfer money to me under the reference 'housewife fee' as a tongue in cheek joke. I want to apply for residency where I am primary carer and he sees his mum a couple of times per week. She's not a bad mother just would rather do other things than spend time playing with him for example and I genuinely feel he would be best off living with me. He has spent a night or two every week with my parents (where I've moved back to) since he was young so he's completely comfortable here. In addition my ex also works a lot which limits the times she can dedicate to him. What is the likelihood of me being assigned the primary carer by a court as the statistics seem to favour the mother for whatever reason? And also what rights do I have for access to our 10yr old who I care for but have no PR for?Any advice would be really appreciated as I can't help but doubt the system which seems heavily weighted for the mother despite my situation.Thanks

Our Response:
The fact you have your child currently living with you, essentially means you are currently the primary carer of your son. If you have previously been the primary carer of your child, then there is no reason why the court will not allow this arrangement to continue (if the matter reaches court). The court only seems weighted to mothers because as a rule mothers are usually the primary carer. There is no discrimination against fathers as primary carers. A court will usually opt for continuity which is what is considers to be in the best interests of your child. With regards to your arrangement; if you cannot decide between you and your ex, then mediation should be considered before any application to court. This also goes for any arrangements over contact with your stepdaughter. If your ex disagrees with you having access, then you can apply to court. It is not unusual for the courts to give step-parents access where they have spent a good deal of time with their stepchild and there are siblings involved.
DivorceResource - 30-Jun-17 @ 2:39 PM
My partner and I have been together 5yrs but we aren't married. We have a 2yr old son together and she had a 10yr old girl from her previous relationship (who I don't have PR for). We have recently separated and I have moved in with parents and I took him with me. We are trying to make arrangements for him to see her but it's getting tetchy and I'm thinking court is going to be the only way of resolving things. Since the day he was born I have been the main carer for our boy. I can count on 1 hand the number of times she has bathed him, put him to bed, brushed his teeth, changed his nappies etc. Not only that but I have been the main carer of our 10yr old girl. I have taken and collected her from school for the past 4yrs even joining the school board of governors, I have taken her everywhere she needs to go, made her tea, ensured she's bathed etc. I have txt messages from her stating I am the children's primary carer. She even used to transfer money to me under the reference 'housewife fee' as a tongue in cheek joke. I want to apply for residency where I am primary carer and he sees his mum a couple of times per week. She's not a bad mother just would rather do other things than spend time playing with him for example and I genuinely feel he would be best off living with me. He has spent a night or two every week with my parents (where I've moved back to) since he was young so he's completely comfortable here. In addition my ex also works a lot which limits the times she can dedicate to him. What is the likelihood of me being assigned the primary carer by a court as the statistics seem to favour the mother for whatever reason? And also what rights do I have for access to our 10yr old who I care for but have no PR for? Any advice would be really appreciated as I can't help but doubt the system which seems heavily weighted for the mother despite my situation. Thanks
KennyL - 30-Jun-17 @ 2:31 AM
Bigmomma - Your Question:
Hi my husband and I are going to divorcing I have a bit of a gambling problem and he now thinks that this will give him a good chance if getting custody. We have 4 children I must say they are well fed well cared for and not gone without

Our Response:
Much depends upon whether your husband can prove your gambling problem impacts on your ability to care for your children. If you are considering who will care for your children once you divorce, this should be done either through mutual decision or via mediation. If your ex will not agree in resolving your issues this way, or if mediation breaks down, only then can you or he apply to court for a child arrangement order, please see link here . If your husband attempts to use your gambling as an issue, he will have to be able to prove that you have a problem and the court will look into the extent of your problem. The court will always decide upon what it thinks is in the best interests of your children and will always put their welfare first. If you are the usual primary carer of your children, then the court would have to have very good reason to remove them from your care. You may wish to seek legal advice in order to fully explore your options.
DivorceResource - 27-Jun-17 @ 1:56 PM
Hi my husband and I are going to divorcing I have a bit of a gambling problem and he now thinks that this will give him a good chance if getting custody. We have 4 children I must say they are well fed well cared for and not gone without
Bigmomma - 26-Jun-17 @ 5:45 PM
@Em - not wanting to stereotype but most mums want sole residency and many dads have to fight for access of their kids. You can ask him if he wants to have shared care, bit it sounds to me like you both want to offload your kids :(
Peeps - 26-Jun-17 @ 3:48 PM
My husband has just made known to me that he wants a divorce. Not a problem. But he also will glee mentioned that he will leave me in the house with the kids as the UK automatically awards sole responsibility of the children to the mother while he can walk away to enjoy his life and watch from afar as I struggle to take care of the children. My question is, the kids were born in marriage which places parental responsibility on both, in what ways can I be forced/made to have sole responsibility?
Em - 25-Jun-17 @ 8:29 PM
Dyffy - Your Question:
HiJust started on divorce.My ex refuse to talk to me about arrangements for our daughter she is 10.He left 18 months ago. Lives with another woman. During thise 18 months he see daughter 9 hrs a week.( 3 hrs /3 days). During thise 18 months he has not once ask for her to spend one night at his place.I also gave up.my full time job to get one to fit around our daughter so we could save in childcare. I drop/pick up from school everydays. I also fed her before she sees her dad. Can he make me change all that?? Or shall we stay at such??? I was also thinking of relocating near his family who has been of great support to my daughther and i.Where we lives neither ex or I got any family.To move who also mean a easier access to my family. Ues that would mean a change in the daus he sees he daughter at the mive would be a 2.5 hrs drives. But I am ready to me half way or even to bring daughter and I spend the night in a hotel. Would there be problem? It is a thought and true the idea of having support near me at all time would be good to both of us.

Our Response:
If you cannot agree between you and the father of your child will not give his consent, then mediation should be considered. If family mediation fails to bring about a resolution, then you would be allowed to apply to court. The court will always decide upon what it thinks is in the best interests of your daughter.
DivorceResource - 23-Jun-17 @ 3:42 PM
Mama - Your Question:
My daughter has been suffering from post partum psycosisnand post natalDepression and has been in hospitalised 3 times. Her children are 3 years and 18 months and her husband was very supportive. Suddenly he told her he wanted a divorce. She is not allowed to be alone with the children due to her depression and she has a clinical coordinator who helps her and social workers who keep an eye on the Children. I live 4 hours away from her. She has no money , no friends and can't return to work yet. Her husband and his lawyer are putting pressure on her to move out of the house. Is there anything she can do as this is pushing her to the brink

Our Response:
I am sorry to hear this. Her only recourse would be to get some legal advice in order to explore her own options. You don't say whether she is currently living away from home, which may make it more difficult to be allowed back in, especially if social workers etc are involved.
DivorceResource - 23-Jun-17 @ 12:37 PM
My daughter has been suffering from post partum psycosisnand post natal Depression and has been in hospitalised 3 times. Her children are 3 years and 18 months and her husband was very supportive. Suddenly he told her he wanted a divorce. She is not allowed to be alone with the children due to her depression and she has a clinical coordinator who helps her and social workers who keep an eye on the Children. I live 4 hours away from her . She has no money , no friends and can't return to work yet. Her husband and his lawyer are putting pressure on her to move out of the house. Is there anything she can do as this is pushing her to the brink
Mama - 22-Jun-17 @ 9:30 PM
My husband disappeared a couple of years ago as I have no idea where he is I manage to get a decree nisi and then a decree absolute. We had 2 kids together when the judge granted the divorce he just stated the kids will continue to live with me now I'm trying to get a new passport for one of my kids and they are asking for the dad to sign that he accept my child to have a passport how am I suppose to do if I don't know where he is.
Tatianajolie - 21-Jun-17 @ 10:04 PM
Hi Just started on divorce. My ex refuse to talk to me about arrangements for our daughter she is 10. He left 18 months ago. Lives with another woman. During thise 18 months he see daughter 9 hrs a week.( 3 hrs /3 days) . During thise 18 months he has not once ask for her to spend one night at his place. I also gave up.my full time job to get one to fit around our daughter so we could save in childcare. I drop/pick up from school everydays. I also fed her before she sees her dad. Can he make me change all that?? Or shall we stay at such??? I was also thinking of relocating near his family who has been of great support to my daughther and i. Where we lives neither ex or i got any family. To move who also mean a easier access to my family. Ues thatwould mean a change in the daus he sees he daughter at the mive would be a 2.5 hrs drives. But i am ready to me half way or even to bring daughterand i spend the night in a hotel. Would there be problem? It is a thought and true the idea of having support near me at all time would be good to both of us.
Dyffy - 21-Jun-17 @ 9:02 PM
Sidneyak - Your Question:
We have been married for 6 years. We have two girls age 4 and 1. We've never really gotten on. For the most part I've had the full time secure job. The only times my husband has bothered to work full time is when I've been on Maternity leave and not been getting full pay to cover bills. Even when my eldest was in nursery full time, he still didn't bother finding a full time job, just had has 18 hours a week in retail.I've now gone back to work and he's home with the kids. Even though he said he was going to look into night shift taxi driving, nothing has materialised and he doesn't seem to be looking for anything else. I pay the chunk of the bills, clothes and other bits for myself and kids. He pays utility and council tax. Although he's got a little saves he's demanding that I give him money for the bills debiting his account. He also likes to have digs at me for not saving or always wasting money etc even though whatever I spend money on is mostly for the kids and also I am coughing up for all of the expenses.My biggest fear is that he will get custody of the kids as he's seen as the primary carer because they're home with him during the day. I feel so heartbroken, he likes to taunt me about my parents divorce and wind me up to the point where I end up raising my voice when kids are about. I am so broken, the only reason I stay is because as far as I know he will get custody.The longer we stay together, the more damaging it is for us and kids.I don't know what to do to break this cycle. I don't want to lose my babies.

Our Response:
I'm afraid it would be difficult to say who would be awarded residency of your children, if as you say your husband is the primary carer. When couples split up it is generally agreed between them who should look after the children. However, if the matter was to go to court, then your husband would stand a good chance of becoming the primary carer and being allowed to reside in the house with the children, as stability and consistency are generally thought to be in the best interests of the children. I can only suggest you seek legal advice in order to explore your options further.
DivorceResource - 15-Jun-17 @ 12:05 PM
We have been married for 6 years. We have two girls age 4 and 1. We've never really gotten on. For the most part I've had the full time secure job. The only times my husband has bothered to work full time is when I've been on Maternity leave and not been getting full pay to cover bills. Even when my eldest was in nursery full time, he still didn't bother finding a full time job, just had has 18 hours a week in retail. I've now gone back to work and he's home with the kids. Even though he said he was going to look into night shift taxi driving, nothing has materialised and he doesn't seem to be looking for anything else. I pay the chunk of the bills, clothes and other bits for myself and kids. He pays utility and council tax. Although he's got a little saves he's demanding that I give him money for the bills debiting his account. He also likes to have digs at me for not saving or always wasting money etc even though whatever I spend money on is mostly for the kids and also I am coughing up for all of the expenses. My biggest fear is that he will get custody of the kids as he's seen as the primary carer because they're home with him during the day. I feel so heartbroken, he likes to taunt me about my parents divorce and wind me up to the point where I end up raising my voicewhen kids are about. I am so broken, the only reason I stay is because as far as I know he will get custody. The longer we stay together, the more damaging it is for us and kids. I don't know what to do to break this cycle. I don't want to lose my babies.
Sidneyak - 13-Jun-17 @ 7:03 PM
I am writing on behalf of my daughter. She has been married now for nearly four years but has known her husband for almost nine years. They have had their ups and downs since getting married but soon after my grandson was born in August , he has changed. More recently, she found out that he had sold her jewellery to pay off gambling debts and to get extra money to play poker. He has also been drinking more than usual, sometimes not coming home after work but going down to a pub or bar to have a drink. A recent example of this was last night when she ended up coming to stay at my house at nearly 1am in the morning. She knows that she cannot stay with him as this is putting a toll on her health and well being. However, whenever she questions his behaviour, he will turn round and say that he is a good dad to their son. She is afraid to leave him in case he gets custody of their son. I know she would never be able to live with herslef if this were to happen. It is this fear that is allowing her to stay in an emotional and financially abusive marriage. I cannot stress enough to her that she needs to make a decision that will be for the safety and well being of her son but she is afraid of what might happen. She is a good mum who looks after her son and provides for him the best she can given that her husband does not give her money to buy stuff for the baby. Please help!
Kay - 8-Jun-17 @ 2:08 PM
DeeS - Your Question:
Hello,At the moment we are in a bad situation in our marriage. How shall I start.I was working before got pregnant now looking back to go back to work. Our son is 15months old and things are not going well. my husband is treatening to take our son away from me. He's saying that for the last year and a half he's the main money provider plus I'm not bread and born in England he's Irish and saying that the court won't leave our child with me because I'm foreigner. He is earning very good money that's the other thing so he constantly says that I have no chances if we go to court.But I'll be back to work soon and can't live without my treasure. Can you please advise. Thank you

Our Response:
If you are the day-to-day primary carer of your child then it is likely any court would allow you to remain the primary carer (if you and your husband separate). Regardless of whether you are from the UK or not, a court will not discriminate. It sounds to me as though your husband is making idle threats and regardless of how much money he earns, this does not give him an advantage. I suggest you take some legal advice if you can to find out your options. As your husband's wife you are considered his equal both financially and as a parent.
DivorceResource - 30-May-17 @ 11:43 AM
Hello, At the momentwe are in a bad situation in our marriage.... How shall I start...I was working before got pregnant now looking back to go back to work. Our son is 15months old and things are not going well ... my husband is treatening to take our son away from me . He's saying that for the last year and a half he's the main money provider plus I'm not bread and born in England he's Irish and saying that the court won't leave our child with me because I'm foreigner. He is earning very good money that's the other thing so he constantly says that I have no chances if we go to court.. But I'll be back to work soon and can't live without my treasure. Can you please advise. Thank you
DeeS - 29-May-17 @ 3:23 PM
Husband convicted re drug dealing. Police have said that if we divorce he will still get shared custody of children as he has never harmed them. Is this correct? Worried that he could leave the country with son.
Hope - 28-May-17 @ 9:39 PM
My wife and I are separating and have two girls 11 and 12. Is it possible for each parent to be a prime carer for one child each?This has ramifications for housing for myself as I am currently serving in the Army.
mark76 - 22-Apr-17 @ 9:11 AM
My wife is divorcing me. We have 2 children, 11m and 4.5 yr, both girls. My 'wife' has been the primary carer for the last 1.5 yrs as she was signed off from work with stress and maternity leave. Before that I was the primary carer. She was working towards going back to work full time and for me to go back to part time as her earning potential is significantly greater than mine. Since the break up I've had the children vastly more than her. What are the chances that I will get the children and potentially the house to house our children? Many thanks
Ben - 16-Apr-17 @ 6:56 AM
H - Your Question:
Hi my ex n I seperated 3 1/2 years ago n we are now going through a bitter divorce.cut a long story short I was forced out of my family home, at first my 8 children stopped there for the first nine months but I went up every day to look after them while he was at work, after that due to my ex not coping we agreed on a week about shared residency for the younger 5, the other 3 wanted to stay at their home. The children always started their day from their dads even when they were with me. Six months passed n he still wasn't coping with week about so we decided it best that the 5 youngest resided with me permenantly but would stop at their fathers every other weekend. This worked fine until he decided he wanted me away from the house n wanted to start divorce proceedings. I have always said he can have the children stay over whenever he wanted holidays, every weekend etc but due to him not coping I wanted them to reside with me. He is now wanting to revert back to week about shared residency. He is working full time and I have been a full time mum for over 20 years. For the last year my ex has not supported my children financially. The children are 13,11,9,7 & 5 years old now, the oldest does not want this to happen n is very upset n everything going atm is affecting all of us. We have tried mediation n got nowhere I am not entitle to legal aid as I am still a partner in both family businesses so I am reluctant to get myself into further debt with solicitors.desperate for advise on wether he could get this residency order.

Our Response:
If you have attempted mediation and this has not worked, your only option would be to take the matter to court. If you cannot afford the legal fees, you have the option to self litigate. Many parents, have had no choice other than to become litigants in person after the withdrawal of public funding for the majority of family law applications. Litigants in person MUST be treated equally before the law and have equal access to justice. Judges have a duty to ensure a fair trial by giving them due assistance to achieve this. But that duty does not extend to giving legal advice. Nor can a judge be seen to favour one party over another, even if that party is a litigant in person. However, many parents have been successful in representing themselves in court, especially if they prepare their cases well and are acting solely upon what they feel is in the best interests of their children. You may also be able to get some free legal advice from the Citizens Advice Bureau and through a McKenzie Friend (some who do not charge). A McKenzie Friend is someone who accompanies a litigant in court to provide moral support. They may also take notes, help the litigant find the correct papers and give advice on questions to ask witnesses etc. Some have legal family law experience, but a McKenzie Friend can just be a friend who helps with supportive advice. You can apply for a child arrangement order via the link here and if you are on a low income you may get a reduction in court costs. I hope this helps.
DivorceResource - 5-Apr-17 @ 2:40 PM
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