The post-divorce ‘right’ to contact

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Jennifer Peebles


Phone 01264 325823


Divorce brings about monumental change. From finances to living arrangements, every aspect of family life must adjust to fit in within the practical aspects of separation. When it comes to children, the reality of splitting time between two parents can take a lot of getting used to.

The usual scenario is children will continue to be in regular contact with both parents. Sometimes that means spending a few days a week at one parent’s house and the rest at the others. It might mean living permanently with one and staying the occasional night with the other. It might mean just having some contact with the other parent during the daytime once or twice a week.

There are all sorts of arrangements that the parties can agree to put in place or that will be imposed by the court. What is right for each family will depend on the circumstances and at the heart of that decision is one fundamental question: what is in the child’s best interests?

That’s a very different proposition to an automatic right for a parent to spend time with their child post-divorce – something that many assume they will have. There is a right to apply to the Court for a Child Arrangement Order which can specify plans for children where parents have divorced. However, ultimately it’s about the child, not the parent. The Courts take account of factors including the child’s emotional needs, their wishes and any risk of harm that he or she could be subjected to.

As Family solicitors, we advise on all of the issues that couples face in the lead-up to, during and after divorce. We see the heartache caused to parents who are living apart from their children. We help put in place arrangements that are, first and foremost, best for the child and also fair to parents.

It is recognised that, in the vast majority of cases, a child’s best interests are served by maintaining a good degree of contact with both parents. So, while there will inevitably be some discussion about how that contact should be structured, parents should feel confident that with some sound legal support the right arrangement will be put in place.

For advice about any aspect of divorce, or arrangements for children, contact one of our specialist solicitors on or 01264 353411. We would be delighted to help you.

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