Divorce and family matters

We firmly believe that handling the breakdown of a relationship with professional assistance at the outset provides certainty and security for the future. Most people are not aware that issues of family law are extremely wide ranging and can be complex.

For instance, did you know that you can provide for the possible future breakdown of a marriage by putting a comprehensive pre-nuptial agreement in place? Our advocates advise on a wide range of family law matters including:

  • Divorce – initial applications, financial provisions and final order stages
  • Separation agreements – drafting and advising on the suitability of these
  • Co-habitee disputes
  • Children – all aspects including contact, residence, prohibited steps and maintenance

At Gelling Johnson Farrant we understand that few situations are as distressing and upsetting as the breakdown of a relationship, especially if there are children involved. Therefore, we strive to provide practical, non-judgmental advice at an early stage allowing us to seek the best possible outcome for everyone involved.

There is usually no outright winner or loser in disputes of this nature. Whilst we sympathise with the upheaval created by divorce or separation, we try to help you put the emotions to one side so as to give you the best opportunity of reaching a practical, workable solution to the domestic problems you are facing.

Children FAQs

Clearly, issues involving children are sensitive and can be complex. Speak to our advocate in family law, Ashley Sayle, for advice.

What happens if there is a dispute over who the child(ren) should live with?

There is no presumption that it will be the mother.  The focus should be on what is best for the child(ren).  If you cannot agree, the Court can get involved and decide.  That is the last option.

What is parental responsibility?

There is no legal definition of parental responsibility.  It includes the right/responsibility to make welfare decisions for the child such as education, health, religion and where a child lives.  However, this is not an exhaustive list.

How do I get parental responsibility?

A mother obtains parental responsibility by giving birth to the child.  A father, however, has this responsibility only if he is married to the mother at the time of birth or has acquired legal responsibility for his child through one of these three routes:

  • By jointly registering the birth of the child with the mother
  • By a parental responsibility agreement with the mother
  • By a parental responsibility order, made by the court

How do we work out child maintenance?

Many factors are taken into account when deciding on the amount for child maintenance.  These include income, factors affecting income, maintenance rates, the number of children involved and shared care.

Can my child decide who they want to live with?

A child cannot decide where or with whom they live with and it is the job of the court to determine what the best interests of the child are and who should be awarded custody.  However, the child’s wishes can be presented to the court for its considerations by either the child or their representative.  Additionally, the older the child, the more importance will be placed on their wishes.

What is the 'best interests of the child'?

The best interests of the child is the only factor the court has to consider when making any decision in relation to custody of or contact (access) with a child of the marriage. It is both imposed and recognised by the law.