In the UK, Father’s Day is celebrated in June, which brings to mind whether the law and courts in England and Wales favour one parent over the other. Often, fathers assume that the law has an institutional bias towards mothers.
In reality, it is quite the opposite, as our family law team has explored in this article.
History of Parental “Rights”
Until reform in the latter part of the 20th century, children were considered the property of their fathers, much like their wives, resulting in limited or virtually non-existent rights for mothers.
This perspective shifted dramatically with the ground-breaking introduction of the Children Act 1989, which eliminated the notion of parental rights. The focus now centres on parental responsibility, meaning it is the responsibility of the parents to act in their child’s best interests. The law does not favour mothers or fathers but instead emphasises the child’s welfare as the primary consideration, ultimately moving away from parental rights.
Parental “Rights” and Responsibilities
Overall, when a court or mediator is deciding on parental responsibility and/or a Child Arrangements Order, the child will remain of paramount importance. As part of this, the child should be able to have an ongoing relationship with both parents. Subsequently, it is common to see shared care arrangements following a relationship breakdown; however, the technicalities of the agreement will vary on a case-by-case basis.
The law is complex surrounding children’s rights. Every case is unique and can involve many different interests, from parents to legal guardians and the local authority. In any case, your legal representation will do all they can to protect and prioritise the happiness and safety of the children involved.
It should be highlighted that if there are any safeguarding concerns, the law will always do what it can to protect a child and may need to suggest no contact for one or both parents where the child’s welfare and safety are at risk.
What is a Child Arrangements Order?
A Child Arrangements Order is a directive that determines a child’s living situation, visitation and contact, and the schedule for such interactions with specific individuals. Each Child Arrangements Order is based on the unique circumstances of the family in question and the best interests of the respective child. Consequently, there is no ‘standard’ arrangement. Child Arrangement Orders are regulated under Section 8 of the Children Act 1989.
Child Law Solicitors Gloucestershire
Ideally, arrangements for children should be settled in the most amicable and constructive manner possible, as reducing or eliminating parental conflict benefits their well-being.
Family mediation offers a way to resolve issues without the bitterness, stress and expenses of contested legal proceedings. Another viable option is the collaborative process. Both approaches are conversation-based methods of finding a resolution.
At Langley Wellington, our team of experienced family law solicitors understand the emotional and overwhelming nature of family and relationship breakdown. We will do all we can to resolve your matter efficiently and effectively, minimising conflict where possible.
This blog is not intended to be taken as advice or acted upon. If you are seeking legal advice, please get in touch with our team of solicitors.