One of the most emotive aspects of family law is the issue of childcare. There are a number of areas where this is potentially problematic, which is why legal firms have to be very careful when it comes to this in order to ensure that most of the needs of the children are properly attended to.
Factors to consider
While this may sound obvious, different children have different needs and in any childcare case this needs to be taken into account:
- The age of the children. A baby will usually require more care and attention than an older child.
- The wishes of the children themselves. This can be potentially emotive but it is important to listen to what they think and what they want to do and to take this into consideration.
- Changes in circumstances. Children can understandably be worried if they have to move house or there are changes in their routine and it is important that this has to be handled sensitively.
- Mediation. It must be emphasised that this is not trying to bring people back together and is purely about coming to amicable agreements, without involving a long and drawn out court battle.
In recent times the terminology involving childcare has changed – instead of using the term “access” to children the term is “contact” and the emphasis is on the responsibility of parents as opposed to their rights. In effect, in legal terms the focus (as it should be) is on the children.
Parental responsibility is defined as protecting a child, making sure they receive education, medical treatment, deciding where they live, religion and so forth.
It is also worth noting that increasingly more children have unmarried parents – in legal terms if the children is born after 1st December 2003, if the father registers the birth he shares parental responsibility with the mother.
As you can see there are a considerable number of issues and it can get complicated. In simple terms, whatever the circumstances (same sex partners, unmarried, divorced etc) the needs of the children takes priority.
For more information and to find how we can help you settle any disputes regarding childcare contact us today.