Child custody is the legal term given to where a child lives most of the time following the break-up of their parents. The parent with custody is responsible for making the day-to-day decisions regarding the child, while the non-resident parent receives specific contact arrangements. Child custody can refer to many parental concerns, including:
- Which parent a child lives with
- How a child’s contact with their parents is shared
- Possible contentious issues, such as healthcare and where the child goes to school
- Whether a parent can take their child out of the country
How Child Custody law works in Northern Ireland
One of the more upsetting things about divorce is considering the arrangement for any children involved. If both partners can agree on child custody arrangements with regards to physical, legal, and full or joint custody then they are not required to submit any official paperwork.
If you want to make sure that your agreement is legally binding, a solicitor can help with the steps involved. You and your ex-partner both must sign a draft consent order. You will also need to get the consent order approved.
A consent order is a legal document that confirms your agreement. It can include details about how you’ll look after your children, such as:
- where they live
- when they spend time with each parent
- when and what other types of contact take place (phone calls, for example)
What Happens If Partners Disagree on Child Custody?
When separated parents disagree about the arrangements for their children, there are several services available to resolve those issues without the need to go to court. This can include family therapy or family mediation services. A family lawyer can get involved if issues remain unresolved to try and prevent the court from having to take on the case. Should your case have to go to court it is best to talk through your options and get representation from H McPartlands & Sons throughout the court process.
If you have a specific area of dispute that cannot be resolved including the educational path of a child, or a religious issue, then an application can be made for what is known as a ‘Specific Issue Order’. However, all efforts should be made to try and resolve such issues by agreement. The court can also grant what is known as ‘Prohibited Steps Orders, stopping one party from doing something such as removing a child from their school or moving to a different country.
What if contact with your child is denied?
If contact with a child is denied entirely, it is important to take prompt action to ensure that any delay does not negatively impact the application for contact. If a court order is in place but is being ignored the court can then act against those not adhering to the terms and conditions.
For more advice on legal matters regarding child maintenance and custody arrangements please get in touch with one of our expert family lawyers. McPartland & Sons will be able to provide you with all the support you need.