When you and your partner separate, it can create a lot of questions about the future, particularly if you have children.

Indeed, child access is one of the main concerns that all parents have when they begin divorce or separation proceedings and, unfortunately, family law surrounding child access is also fairly complicated. In many instances, it is preferable that you and your former spouse come to an arrangement between yourselves, but in instances where this is not possible, you will need to seek legal advice.

In this article, some of the most commonly searched questions surrounding child access law are answered, giving you a brief guide to the entire process. However, this is only a guide and if you need further legal advice, be sure to contact family solicitors in Emsworth.

Do I have rights to see my children?

In the UK, if you are not deemed a risk to your children (or your children will not come to harm while visiting you), then your contact will be ordered by the family court and handled by your family solicitors near Emsworth. If your former spouse is preventing you from seeing your children, then you will need to seek legal advice and begin mediation to resolve the matter.

What if we can’t agree on who our children should live with?

As mentioned before, a key role of family solicitors from Emsworth is to mediate such disputes. However, it is important to remember that when it comes to full custody, the best interests of the child or children are taken into account and so, if there are concerns surrounding this and mediation fails, the end result will be decided by the court.

How long would a court case take surrounding child access?

In the event that you and your former spouse go to court to get help with child access arrangements, you will need to complete forms such as the C100. Around 4-6 weeks after this has been received, you will need to attend the First Hearing Dispute Resolution Appointment.

If the judge deems you and your former spouse capable of resolving the issues that have led to this point, they will complete a court order to that effect, placing you both under a legal contract regarding child access. Depending on other factors, you may then have to attend court a second time if you fail to come to an agreement between yourselves. This process can take up to 6 months.

How do I get custody of my children?

There is no simple way to ensure that you will gain custody of your children; as mentioned before, custody is awarded based on the best interests of the child.

Will I have to go to court?

Hopefully, there won’t be any court appearances involved in your child access. Any good solicitor will offer multiple mediation sessions between you and your former spouse, to reach a mutually beneficial agreement. If this process fails, then your solicitor will appeal to your nearest family court.

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