Child custody inevitably is a difficult issue to talk about. Knowing who should care for a child in difficult circumstances is something that needs to be addressed. In this article, we are going to look at the issues involved and what parents and carers should be aware of.


Making a judgement

In a child custody hearing, there are a couple of potential outcomes. The first is that the parents or carers involved come to an agreement. For example, in a divorce it may be decided that it is best if a child stays with their mother and the father has visitation rights while at the same time still being involved in any important decisions.

However, in some cases this may not be possible.



Before approaching a court, it is worth engaging in a period of mediation. Often if a case comes before a magistrate this may be suggested. The good thing about this process is that it may help parents come to a conclusion before needing the court to get directly involved.


Family Panel

If an agreement hasn’t been reached you’ll be asked to appear before a Family Panel. Typically, this will be three magistrates who will listen to your argument about who should be awarded custody and take this into account. They will also look at your financial circumstances and what would be the appropriate environment for the child.

This can also occur if a parent has previously been refused custody and is seeking access to their children.

It is also important to emphasise that the Family Panel will also listen to the views of the children and take into account what they think and who they would rather be with. This may not necessarily guarantee that the child will end up with their preferred parent but it is a factor that will be taken into account.


Welfare Officer

A welfare officer may visit your home. In this instance, they will look at your home in order to gauge whether or not it is best suited for the child’s interests and long-term benefit. After they have looked at the premises they will then pass on their findings to the Family Panel.

Once an agreement has been reached this decision is legally binding and you must adhere to it.


Legal representatives

As with any legal case this can potentially be very complex. Being able to present an effective argument to the Family Panel can be hard. Therefore, it is worth using the services of an experienced family legal representative.

At Larcomes we believe that we not only have the resources to provide you with the best possible representation but also the specialists that can sympathise and guide you through an emotional and difficult time. For more information or to discuss your current circumstances please contact Larcomes today and we can get you in touch with a family law specialist on our team to go over your situation in more detail and help find the best solution for you and your children.