1. If he/she doesn’t pay maintenance why should he get to see the children?

    The Court consider that contact and maintenance are two separate issues. It is the child’s right to have contact with the parent with whom they no longer live irrespective of financial arrangements. Both parents have a financial responsibility towards their child. The arrangements for maintenance can be via the CSA/CMEC or arrangements can be made…

  2. My husband/wife wants to take the children abroad on holiday – do I have to let him?

    No, but he could apply to the Court for permission if the refusal is unreasonable. The Court will then have to consider whether it is in the child’s best interests to have a holiday with their parent and in most cases the answer will be yes. It is usual; for the other parent to be…

  3. Can I change my children’s name?

    The general rule is no, unless you have the other parent’s permission. In most cases both parents have what is known as Parental Responsibility and both should be involved in important decisions about their child. If one parent does not hold Parental Responsibility, it is possible to allow a child to be known by another…

  4. Do I have to change my name?

    No – if you wish to change your name following Divorce, you will need to prepare a Change of Name Deed.

  5. Can she/he keep the children away from me?

    There is a presumption under the Children Act 1989 that a child will have contact with a parent with whom they no longer live. Contact to a parent is the child’s right. Contact may be restricted in some circumstances if it is not safe or a child may be at risk. Generally children’s relationships with…

  6. How long will it take?

    Applications under the Children Act vary in length depending upon the nature of the case. Generally proceedings take 6-9 months but may be longer if there are concerns about risk or safety or the dispute is complex and there are many matters for the Court to consider.

  7. Will I get custody?

    Custody no longer exists, it is now known as ” Residence” and that is a decision about where and with who the children. The Court only make any order where there is a dispute and only then when it is in the children’s best interests to do so. Residence orders are not made automatically when…

  8. Will the Judge ask me questions?

    If you have a legal representative it is usual for them to speak on your behalf but sometimes the Judge may ask questions. If you are Court on your own you will have to put forward your case but the Judges will help as much as they can. If there is a hearing for the…

  9. Who will be there?

    All parties and , if appointed, any legal representatives. The case will be considered by a Judge if it is a County Court case or the Magistrates in family proceedings courts.

  10. What happens at the court hearing?

    Most first Court appointments are procedural hearings to ensure that the Court has all of the information available to make a decision at a later date. It is often possible for the parties or their legal representatives to put forward proposals to see if an agreement can be reached. If an agreement can be reached…

  11. Will I have to go to court?

    If an application is made to the Court you will have to attend. Other ways to resolve the dispute are available and are encouraged such as instructing a solicitor to negotiate for you, or mediation or other dispute resolution.

  12. Why can I not go straight to court?

    It is usual and considered right for the other party to be warned of any proposed Court application before it is issued. This is to allow time for negotiations and for solutions to be found. It is also a requirement of the Family Procedure Rules that mediation is considered as another means of resolving any…

  13. Will CAFCASS talk to the children?

    In many cases, the CAFCASS officer will speak to the children about their wishes and feelings. If a CAFCASS report is ordered CAFCASS will usually invite one parent to bring the children to the local CAFCASS office to speak to them or in some cases, will arrange to visit the children at school. The parent…