What is child custody law UK? What are the rules and what are the rights of parents in a relationship that has broken down?
You’ve probably heard LOADS about child custody law – well, if you’ve watched any US TV series or movies, then you will have anyway.
But you’ve probably not heard child custody law in the UK mentioned as much…
That’s partly because we tend to talk about child maintenance and child arrangements for what the Americans would define as custody.
So, What Do You Need To Know About Child Custody Law In The UK?
Basically, UK Child Custody Law determines who should be responsible for the care of a child, after a separation or divorce.
It might not always be referred to as custody – sometimes it’s also known as residency, This indicates where a child will be spending most of their time.
In most cases, parents prefer to have joint custody. This means both parents will have an equal share of time with the child, as well as participating in decisions that might affect them.
But if they can’t decide on their living arrangement, then it will be at the discretion of the court to decide what’s best for the child.
The reality is that most bitter disputes will end at family court – but it’s good to remember that:
- Most child custody cases end with agreed or joint residency
- Maintenance payments from the non-resident parent are considered carefully
- Each parent is individually assessed in disputed cases so a considered decision can be made over child custody
What if I’m looking for a child custody lawyer?
If you’ve separated from your partner and you’re concerned about the custody of your child, then you might be looking for child custody legal advice.
Lawyers that are experts in children’s matters are experienced in dealing with child arrangements, including child maintenance and custody agreements.
Knowing where to begin can be tricky. But, if you’re looking for the BEST child custody lawyers near you, then we’ve got you covered…
CLICK HERE to find child custody lawyers near you
So, How Is Child Maintenance Decided?
Every case is different, which means each case will be decided on its own merits. If your case goes to family court then it’ll depend on your child custody agreement.
If you’re sharing custody, then it might be that an individual ruling is needed. If one parent takes the main residency, then the other parent will be required to pay child maintenance.
Basically, you’ll need to pay child maintenance if you meet the following criteria:
- You are the child’s biological or adoptive parent
- You don’t live with the child as part of their family
- You are the child’s legal parent
You can also ask the Child Maintenance Service for a ruling on the amount of child maintenance that will be paid. It’s worth noting that in any calculation you’ll need to provide information on:
- how much the paying parent earns
- how many children the paying parent is or will be paying maintenance for
- how many nights a week the child spends with the paying parent
- if any other children live with the paying parent
You should also know that if the parent who has is on certain benefits, then the other parent will receive a maximum of £7 per week.
To give you an idea of the general costs, the default child maintenance payment per week is:-
- £38 for 1 child
- £51 for 2 children
- £61 for 3+ children.
However, it’ll depend on your individual circumstances, the other parent’s situation, and whether your child has any additional needs or costs to be catered for.
For example, if you earn more than £3,000 per week, then you’ll need to go to court to receive a ruling on the amount of maintenance you’ll be required to pay.
The same goes if you live outside of the UK. Or, if you need need to pay for additional costs associated with a disability or for your child’s education.
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