Frequently Asked Questions About Child Custody Agreements

Divorce is a difficult procedure for everyone involved; however, most couples enter this process with the understanding that it is what’s best for their future.

Unfortunately, things can become difficult when there are children involved. 

Child custody agreements are normally put in place to ensure that both parents still have access to their children in a way that is most responsible for the child.

These rulings are put in place based on several factors, and you will find that each case has a different result.

That does not mean that you cannot find any solid answers to any of the questions you may have about this process.

As such, this article will try to answer some of the most frequently asked questions about child custody agreements to help settle any worries you may have.

What Factors Are Considered During The Case?

The main factor that a judge will consider during a child custody case is the welfare of the child.

This decision is broken down into several smaller categories, including their age, where they currently live, their gender, and any extra needs.

With all these factors in review, a judge will then consider an agreement that is safest or the least disruptive for the child.

For example, it isn’t in the best interest for an infant to alternate between two homes if one parent is living far from their current school.

Who Is Statistically More Likely To Gain Primary Custody?

Primary custody refers to the parent that has the most access to the child after the divorce has been finalised.

This means that they are the parent that the child lives with for most of the agreement, and this arrangement will remain in place until the child is considered a legal adult. In the UK, the age of adulthood is sixteen.

Statistics show that primary custody is given to the mother in 80% of all child custody cases.

This does not mean that it is impossible for a father to gain primary custody, but it is much less likely.

Again, every case is determined by what is best for the child, and that includes which parent is most fit to be the primary caregiver

What Is The Most Common Custody Agreement?

There are three extremely common joint custody arrangements in the UK. One is the alternate week plan.

This agreement ensures that the child spends one full week with one parent and the next full week with the second. A fifty-fifty arrangement like this is most fair for both parents.

The other two arrangements are a little more complex. These are the two-two-five plan and the two-two-three plan.

These numbers represent alternating days instead of weeks and the larger run of days is taken by the parent with primary custody, usually the mother.

Which Parent Has To Pay The Court Fees In A Custody Case?

The court fees in a child custody case are usually split evenly between both parents; however, lawyer’s fees are not included in these costs.

If one parent chooses to pay more for a lawyer, then they must put the money forward themselves.

As always, there are some cases where one parent can be forced to pay for all the court fees.

A parent may have to pay for the entire case if a court rules that they are solely responsible for the breakdown of the relationship.

These rulings can be made if adultery, domestic violence, or drug abuse are the main reason why the other partner wishes to be divorced.

Can One Parent Stop The Other From Seeing The Child During The Case?

Both parents are considered to have joint custody of their child until a definitive court ruling is made.

Therefore, one parent cannot deliberately stop another from gaining access to the child during the custody case.

However, one parent can enforce a non-molestation order if they feel that the other person presents a direct threat to them or the child.

Again, these orders are only put in place in extreme circumstances. You can find out more information on non-molestation orders from a legal professional, and they can remain in place long after a custody arrangement is made.

In this case, the parent who placed the non-molestation order receives full custody of the child.

Does The Child Have A Say In The Arrangement?

It is right to assume that a child should have a say in their future, however, any child under the age of sixteen cannot choose which parent they would prefer to live with.

This is because they are considered to be a dependent according to UK law, which means that they do not have the capacity to make decisions that impact their welfare.

That is why a parent is given primary custody so that they can continue to make these decisions on their behalf.

Therefore, while a child custody arrangement is based on what is best for the child, these individuals do not get a say in the outcome. 

How Long Does A Child Custody Case Last?

The length of a child custody case can vary depending on the circumstances of the parent.

If the split is amicable, then the average child custody case will last between six to eight weeks.

However, if both parties need to plead their case or provide evidence, then it could take between six- and twelve months to make a decision.

The reason for this length is that it takes time for solicitors to find enough evidence and build your case.

What’s more, the other party is trying to refute your claims which can cause the main focus of the case to change.

An independent judge will review the evidence presented and make a final decision once both parties have run out of reasons to continue stating their case. 

Conclusion

Child custody arrangements are never simple, so try not to consider the answers given in this article definitive.

These are just the average results for most cases, so your situation may prove to be very different.

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