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Child Custody Rights

Author: Anna Martin - Updated: 15 July 2014 | commentsComment
 
Child Custody Residency Disputes Courts

In the UK child custody law determines who should be responsible for the care and charge of a child, after divorce or separation. The term custody is now more commonly referred to as residency - indicating where the children's main residence is, following a parental break up.

In the many cases, parents preference is for joint custody (or residency), which enables the child to spend an equal amount of time with each parent. This option also allows both parents to participate in any decision making which may affect the child. However, if parents are unable to decide amicably on what living arrangement is best for their child, the courts will decide on their behalf.

Parent Vs Parent

Most bitter disputes between married couples end up in the family courts. Whilst the separation and ensuing bitterness will undoubtedly affect the children it's important to remember that:
  • Most child residency court cases end amicably with either agreed residency or joint residency as the outcome
  • Access and maintenance payments from the non resident parent are also taken into consideration
  • In disputed cases each parent is individually assessed before a decision on which parent is given custody of the child, or children, is made

The best interests of the child is the general standard at the heart of all residency cases.

Joint Residency

Joint residency is considered to be the preferred solution as being in the best interests of most children.

BUT...There are no laws or 'rights' that state that a child should live specifically with either the mother or father.

Assuming you both have parental responsibility it is up to you to negotiate residency on the basis of what is best for the children. Many couples neglect to consider this fact and err on the side of what they themselves would prefer (or what suits them).

If you cannot come to an agreement, you should try mediation first. If that is unsuccessful, the courts will become involved and will issue a court order based on what it sees as appropriate.

Joint Residency Reflect Modern Society

The choice of joint residency, reflects the changes in society and takes into consideration work that mothers do outside of the home and a more hands-on approach of child care by fathers. By allowing both parents to have an equal share in the physical care of their child, or children, all legal rights connected to responsibilities and obligations to children are divided.

Custody Disputes

Most custody disputes involve the child’s mother and father. However, in some cases a third party – a grandparent, for instance – may seek custody at the time of a parent’s death or incapacity. If a couple has never married - making provisions for the care of their child may also develop into a dispute. Generally though a court will accept that a parent is in the best position to maintain the welfare of their child.

Unusual Circumstances

In some rare circumstances one parent may be permanently excluded from having any access to their child. However, the court has the right to change the decision at any point in time, should the parent’s circumstances change. The parent is able to re-apply for access at any time, and once an application is made the court may reconsider arrangements after examining evidence.

The Court Decides

The courts will generally accept custody arrangements that parents submit as part of their separation agreement. To ensure these arrangements serve the child’s interests the courts will review the plan. The role that grandparents, step-parents and other influential adults play in the child’s life may also be taken into consideration by the courts.

Changing Or Regaining Custody

Changing a child’s residency arrangements is possible. In order to support the change, substantial evidence of the stability the child will need to be submitted. There are many other factors to consider, which may include relocation of a parent, stability of employment, integration of the child into the new environment etc. Read on for more information about your rights as a parent.

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Mother & Father - 15-Jul-14 @ 11:56 PM
Just wondering I have moved to the united kingdom i am a british citizen and have a british passport i lived in ireland for 7 years and now moved back to england for support of my family as i am 8 months pregnant, the father still lives in Ireland but never helped me along the way of this pregnancy. Can he be still order me back to ireland after the child is born? or take me to court in anyway?
debs - 12-Jul-14 @ 2:14 PM
My son was in a relationship with a girl for three years, in that time they had a son which is now 2. The girl was very destructive and controlling constantly throwing fits of rage and trashing his house, she would also call the police and press false charges on my son (which was never founded}she would then apologize to us and say it was because she was angry and we should put it in the past. After more of the same things happening the police saw her attacking his car and arrested her. My son no longer wants to be with this girl and wants to joint custody of his son as she wont let him see his child, he has a CSA letter once again as she was claiming when they lived together and cancelled it. What are his rights and how soon can he see his child
chrissy - 30-Jun-14 @ 1:12 PM
well been reading a few comments and i will get into my own story after answering one lady with her 16 year old. no this non legal farther dose not have any rights what so ever when it comes to forcing your little girl to see him. and its 14 she can decide this not 18. if she is not happy she dose not have to go at all. ok my prodicament i split with my ex years ago and signed over a 150000 house with 15000 left to pay on it. and gave her £500 a month for 3 years till she met another guy. i then payed £350 a month i have recently started renting a house out and she is starting to look at gaining a share of this. i have my girl at least 2 times a week. is there any way of getting joint custardy where i don't have to pay her anything and go halts on everything for my girl. i just hate greed and think i have been a lot more than fair with her or is it just me ????
andrew watson - 23-Jun-14 @ 7:17 PM
Hi am just wondering my childrens father is taking the children for 2 weeks over the summer and is asking to borrow things for there holiday?? I am also taking the children for two weeks and have not asked or expected him to provide for this holiday is it down to him as a parent to provide clothing and stuff for his weekends and his holidays he has planned?????
s j - 22-Jun-14 @ 1:51 PM
Courts in Scotland now let children into court as young as eight if seen as mature enough it used to be 12. If you are fighting to either see your child or for custody some advice keep in regular contact with your lawyer try and take someone with you,do not get into any trouble with the law never slate the absent parent to the child. Courts must take the view of the child into consideration but may not act on it. Try and better yourself do a course or get a job,If you have parental rights you are entitled to go to parents night at school get copies of school photos most importantly keep in touch with lawyer at least fortnightly stay away from drink and drugs and watch what you say to people about your case. Been going through this for eight years yes its heartbreaking and difficult.Never ever give up.T
Tracey Aird - 11-Jun-14 @ 10:48 PM
My question is, at what age can a child make their own choice on visiting their absent parent? My daughter is almost 16 and has been visiting my ex eevery other weekend with her sister. He is not her natural father, but she always called him dad and was happy to go with her sister. Now however she's no longer happy to go, he's very down on her, gangs up on her with her sister and constantly pressures her over social media to talk to him when she's at home. Does he have any legal rights since she isn't his child? I always let them both go, believing it was in their best interests to keep some consistency in their lives, but nowadays it just makes her unhappy. I've told her when she's 16 I'll leave the choice to her, but when she mentioned it to him he said 'no 18'. Is there any defined age at which they can choose? Thanks.
fidgetpants - 21-May-14 @ 10:37 AM
Mum and I are separated and has stopped our daughter from seeing her maternal grand parent. Also not allowed to talk to her if she sees her. This is distressing our daughter and she wants to live with me and or be able to see her grand parent. This has occurred as mum has personal issues with her parents. Mum refuses to communicate. Please give some advice about what I should do next.
Ignus - 16-May-14 @ 8:59 PM
I am worried about the welfare and well-being of my children. I believe their mother is having a nervous break down. She has uprooted our children from their loving family home where they are happy and settled in school. Completely abandoned the children s home in Maidstone, Kent , dragged my son out of school just to move in with her new boyfriend in his one bedroom flat in Beckton, East London, which is overcrowded, unsuitable living conditions and my son still isn't in school. She doesn't care about the affects this may have on my children mentally and emotionally, taking them out of a routine that they are used to, its all they have known since they were born, now its just suddenly been stripped away from them. She is selfish. Her new boyfriend has also been threatening me and making me feel intimidated to the point where I now feel too scared to go and pick my children up to spend time with them, as I believe he could be dangerous. And that is another thing worrying me about my children being under his roof too. I have been the father AND mother to them, i changed the nappies, i cooked the meals, i done the school runs everything. The mother is more worried about spending the benefit money on clubbing and shoes, I just want my babies back in a safe environment, they have now scrapped legal aid for these types of matters so i feel like i am stuck, any advise would be appreciated, please help, thank you.
Jon - 15-May-14 @ 1:23 PM
Hi, I'd like some advice please.I have a 5 year old son who i have always had parental responsibility for.I split with my ex when my son was 4 months old due to his behaviour and the unhealthy environment of living with him.I also found out at this time that he suffered from bi-polar disorder.His treatment of me was awful, not violent but psychologically abusive.Having my son was the turning point to realise my son and I deserved better.For months he was uninterested but then started to see my son.When I started to see a man he became verbally abusive and would also push things through my letterbox (such as smashed up items we had previously bought) would stalk me and my new partner until it came to breaking point.After he started sending me abusive sickening texts I stopped contact.I agreed to let him see my son again on the grounds that he would be civil at all exchange times.A year or so passed and my son confided in his teachers that his father had told him that if he was naughty he would kill me.This upset my son who was 4 at the time and this time the police were involved.He denied it.The latest event amongst many others (such as teaching my son that it is ok to steal from a Supermarket and then encouraging him to lie to me!) is that he was arrested on suspicion of rape and he tried to commit suicide.I immediately stopped contact for fear of his mental state.It has been 2 months since then and he has reared his ugly head again asking for contact.He has been cleared of the rape charge but i am still very amxious about his attempted suicide, his general state of mind (I also believe he is on drugs) and his general role model capacity.Please help.
Lulu - 12-May-14 @ 2:43 PM
Hi, I'd like some advice please.I have a 5 year old son who i have always had parental responsibility for.I split with my ex when my son was 4 months old due to his behaviour and the unhealthy environment of living with him.I also found out at this time that he suffered from bi-polar disorder.His treatment of me was awful, not violent but psychologically abusive.Having my son was the turning point to realise my son and I deserved better.For months he was uninterested but then started to see my son.When I started to see a man he became verbally abusive and would also push things through my letterbox (such as smashed up items we had previously bought) would stalk me and my new partner until it came to breaking point.After he started sending me abusive sickening texts I stopped contact.I agreed to let him see my son again on the grounds that he would be civil at all exchange times.A year or so passed and my son confided in his teachers that his father had told him that if he was naughty he would kill me.This upset my son who was 4 at the time and this time the police were involved.He denied it.The latest event amongst many others (such as teaching my son that it is ok to steal from a Supermarket and then encouraging him to lie to me!) is that he was arrested on suspicion of rape and he tried to commit suicide.I immediately stopped contact for fear of his mental state.It has been 2 months since then and he has reared his ugly head again asking for contact.He has been cleared of the rape charge but i am still very amxious about his attempted suicide, his general state of mind (I also believe he is on drugs) and his general role model capacity.Please help.
Lulu - 12-May-14 @ 2:43 PM
yes i totally agree social services have not got a clue about child welfare half of them have no children of their own and have no idea the state a parent can get into when children are taken away and they are powerlessto help and i strongly agree a child should decide once they can talk for their selves
jimbo - 3-May-14 @ 4:25 PM
at what age can a child decide who they want to live with i have a friend who s children can choose when they are 9 and another who s children have to wait till they are 16 but all these children want to be with their mothers how can a court decide a child knows where it is loved and once they can talk should be heard
jimbo - 3-May-14 @ 4:15 PM
Please can someone tell me at what age can a child decide with which parent they prefer to live with - my ex husband is trying to get my daughter to live with him because I had one argument with her and told her to pack her thing and live with him if that is what would make her happy - I regret the words but teenagers have a way of getting you to say things.Please I need some advice on where to go... her dad refuses to speak with me and insists that he does not want her to live with me because I basically kicked her out - this is what he has said to her and not me....
Les - 2-May-14 @ 8:49 AM
i I had a huge problems with my ex husband he was drinking, cheating on me and so on finally after years of life in this horror i decided to get divorced and than began the war...who gets custody of the children? luckily my very good friend recommended this http://aq.be/1ab8c9.....when i first saw it i thought it was just another rip off but i thought i have nothing to loose so decided to buy the guide and I'm very glad that I did,it really helps you with all the loopholes and gives you the best possible chance and knowledge to keep your kids with you,there's also few advice's on how to make the divorce and custody trial as easy for the kids as possible and thats the most important thing..good luck guys
Friend - 10-Mar-14 @ 9:04 PM
Hi, my partner is trying to distinguish the outcome of a court case over her ex (the father of her 2 year old son). He has been abusive against her and her son in the past and has several reports of theft against her and even fighting with her family members. They both live some 200 miles apart. Him with his parents, where she has her own place with her son. He has only ever been alone with his son once in which he locked him away as he stated "was unable to cope" and also slammed her sons fingers in a toy box. Since this incident, she has made it her primary need and concern to observe her son while he is around constantly and never leave them alone together. Although, she is also unsafe around him. although reporting most of these incidents, how would this stand in court? She has no criminal convictions etc. although as a child she had some issues, though these have been resolved for over two years. Any advice? thanks
Establisher101 - 19-Feb-14 @ 10:40 PM
My son ex girlfriend as had my son baby he wants to be apart of his son life and support him but his ex doesn't want him to. While she was carrying his son myself and son paid for lots of baby stuff which she accepted .But we have also found out she as had his son registered and the baby as took her name and she has not put the father's name on it. Is it the law for her put my son name on the birth certifcate and does he have any rights
jan - 19-Feb-14 @ 3:43 PM
My ex applied for an order while i already had custody papers going through the courts, she was set a date for first hearing but failed to serve me the papers and the court granted her order because i didnt show, does anyone know where i go for help here, surely this shouldnt be allowed? many thanks in advance
Larry - 21-Dec-13 @ 9:09 PM
I wondered at what age can a child legally decide who they want to live with, is it 16? Thanks
MiniMee - 19-Dec-13 @ 11:47 AM
Anyone knows about the profile or background of author Anna Martin? I googled her but dozens of Anna Martin popped up... Thank you. henry227@alum.bu.edu
Henry - 29-Nov-13 @ 2:09 AM
My son is struggling to cope since his partner left, taking their 2year old daughter with her. She has moved in with her father, 330 miles away in Scotland. We, his parents, had booked a holiday at a Haven site in October, my son was not allowed to take his daughter away with us for 7 days. Last weekend we all travelled north to visit. The trip cost £350, including fuel and 2 nights in a cheap hotel. After a lot of disagreement my son was permitted to take his daughter out for the day. When we left her later, her screams to be with Daddy were awful. The next morning before we left, my son again was not allowed to see his daughter just for an hour, because they were going out. His ex had disposed of the balloon given to the baby at lunch. My son wanted to discuss spending time with his daughter over Xmas, wanting to her bring her home for a week over the holidays, again NO! My son has been left with huge debt, she complained constantly about wanting the best of everything, refused to shop in Aldi, preferred M&S. She took as much from the house as she could, including the bedroom curtains, the vacuum and the Xmas decorations. I have paid for legal advice, to be told English solicitors have no jurisdiction in Scotland! I am at my wits end, worried about my son, and worried about my granddaughter. She adores her daddy. Reading these posts hadn't helped, it seems the law is on the side of mothers sponging benefits, not law abiding, hard working Dads
Puff - 20-Nov-13 @ 8:27 AM
In a recent custody battle with male partner, I am gutted at outcome, I miss my 2 children desperately, however I can no longer afford to fight my corner (as much as it pains me to say) therefore how do I continue to fight for phone calls & fortnightly meets, as this is all I have desired and been denied by my lovely husband ! I wish to pursue as self representation, could you advise on the best course of action thanks.
ureka - 28-Oct-13 @ 7:15 PM
Hi i have an 8year old daughter with my ex that i split up with 5Years ago.he moved to the uk about 4years ago.my daughter loves him very much and i would never get in the way of there relationship but he picks and chooses when he wants to come and see her.there is no stability at all he leaves it for sometimes 3months at a time and when he sees her its for only 2days.please can you help me find out my rights as a mother in wanting routine and stability for my daughter and his rights in that he has to help me give her it.thank you
marze - 26-Oct-13 @ 3:15 PM
hi ive been with my partner now for 9 years,We are not married but have one child together who is 5,and her son from previous marriage .We are always fighting and this is not good for any of the kids,but her son has always been violent to me since becoming a teenager.Also has been the same with my son quite a few times now,but his mother always takes his side,and ends up telling me to leave.This is what i want now but i dont want to leave my son behind as i dont think he will be safe.So i wantcustody of my son whyat options do i have ,and as for court fees are there any ways which can help with this .Thank You Alan Ather
ALSKI60 - 22-Oct-13 @ 5:59 PM
I wanted to know about custody rights for my younger sister, because my parents keep fighting and this time my mother is going to file an official complaint with the police. I just heard them saying that she might have to go into social care, I really don't want that to happen. I was wondering if you could give me any advice on this as I don't know where else to go. I am 22 and would be able to look after her.Thanks
Alex - 18-Oct-13 @ 4:01 PM
Hi there, our 10 years of marriage is coming to an end. we have a 5 month old baby girl. The reason for divorce is that my husband is being constantly unfaithful to me and having affairs. when I first found out about him then I felt absolutely heartbroken and wanted to get separated then but he begged me to forgive him and asked me to make a new start between us and he suggested that if we will have a child then everything will be fine between us. Its been really difficult for me to forget about his affair but I decided to give him one chance and tried to move forward, this year we were blessed with child, now 5 months and I found out that he is having another affair which will create arguments between us and I don't want to bring up this child in this kind of atmosphere. I want the full custody of my child and I will have a lot of support from my parents too but the problem is my parents live in USA and if I would like to move there with my daughter after divorce then is there going to be restrictions legally for me to move to USA with my daughter?
mon - 17-Oct-13 @ 9:44 AM
my comment is my ex partner has got my two girls and wont give them back to me and he is telling sick and twisted lies what can I do because my lawyer carnt do no more to help me.
titch - 10-Oct-13 @ 8:18 PM
I have a DEO against my Salary of £500 a month for the past 6 months I have not been able to pay as I have not been earning enough money so now in Arrears some £1500. Since paying CSA I have been denied seeing my x 2 children for the past 6 years . My son has been in a Mental Health Hospital for the past 8 weeks as he violently assaulted me and approx 12 other people to date - Where do I stand with regards CSA, my son is 15 not in full time education- I'm paying £250 a month yet he is not living with the Parent with Care, not providing no food- or clothing etc. So legally where do I stand.? Please advise. I have been financially screwed by the CSA and a ex husband who refuses to come to any Agreement - Refused me Custody to point of No relationship with your own Children. And now this Life could not get any worse. Pls Help.
Velvet - 2-Oct-13 @ 4:52 AM
I married to a wowman of my drems about 19 years ago we have 5 beautiful childrens i went to see my mum back home when i came back from abroad my wife accosed me of marrying another woman there were some pictures on the face book as i attendeda wedding at the picture ceremony somebody took my picure with the bride and posted on internet as we had a fight before i left so this picture played significant part in my wifes game plan now she want to get rid of me and want to marry somebody else two of my kids are with me as they dont want to live with my wife my wife is bribing them for things and wants those kids back but they are so fearful and scared that they dont want to see her i am very concerned about the safty of other kids but i am scared that if i report to the social they will take the kidsaway from her and we both will loose the children i am concened for there safty and mental well being as well please advise as what i should do to get the remaining three children from my wife two childrens i have they are 14 and 12 the other three age 17 and 5 and 7 thanks
cheems - 3-Sep-13 @ 11:17 PM
I need legal advise. My husband left me and our kids 10yrs and 2yrs over 1/12yrs ago now, I had postnatal depression and a breast concer scare and my husband abandoned us, I've since seeked help and don't have cancer and got counciling for the postnatal depression, only when I was on the mend did my husband want to come back, I refused and now am seeking a divorce, he left my and the children alone for done time, a little time later a met someone else and started a new relationship after excepting my marriage was over, only after finding out I was in a relationship did my husband suddenly want access to the children, I've had a really hard time with him, he has harassed me constantly and slandered my name to everyone and anyone that would listen to him, he has called social services on me all with malicious intent, claiming he is a good farther and only wants to see his kids, even though he dosnt pay any money towards there daily needs and even though I've been trying consistently to get him to see them, I continuely have made effect to meet on mutual ground, all my efforts of in vain as it's not on his terms, he is a very controlling man and still wants to control and manipulate late me and what's worse is now he has a new partner and she is a disgrace, she tryed to talk to me and on phone and was aggressive and abusive and I have a real fear of this woman being around my children, his do I handle this? Can I stop this awrful woman being around my children, the threats from my husband continue all the time and has admitted on serveral occasions that he is intent on making my life hell, how do I stop him? How do I protect my innocent children? I've lost all hope and am excusted from the harrasment and tourment both him and now his new partner impose on mine and my children's life.
Nicky - 25-Aug-13 @ 9:49 PM
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