MYTH: The children should live with their mother

Truth: There is no automatic right for mothers to have the children live with them following separation if this is not agreed. It’s best for both parents to discuss which option is in the children’s best interests and try to come to an agreement. Many families find that a ‘shared care’ arrangement, where children spend equal time with both parents, works well for them.

MYTH: The arrangements during the relationship should remain the same following separation

Truth: Arrangements for the children following separation should be based upon what is in the children’s best interests following separation. This may not be a continuation of existing arrangements and there is no presumption that previous arrangements must continue.

MYTH: The parent who the children live with has greater rights

Truth: All people with parental responsibility for a child should have an equal say in key decisions such as where the child should live, where they should go to school, what religion they should follow (if any), what their name will be, and what medical treatment they should receive. Even if the children spend more time with one parent, the other should always be consulted on important decisions.

MYTH: Only parents can have Parental Responsibility

Truth: There are a number of people who may be able to obtain Parental Responsibility for a child, including step-parents, other family members, or the Local Authority if the child is in care. There is no limit to the number of people who can have Parental Responsibility.

MYTH: Paying more Child Maintenance gives you greater rights

Truth: If problems arise in the co-parenting relationship, and your former partner does not allow you to spend time with the children, this does not mean that you should reduce or withhold Child Maintenance payments.

Equally, allowing the non-resident parent to spend time with the children should not be contingent upon how much maintenance they will pay. You should not seek to negotiate child arrangements by offering that the non-resident parent can spend more time with the children if they will pay a greater amount of child maintenance.

If you need any advice on Child Arrangements, whether that relates to where your child lives or how much you can see them, you can arrange an appointment to speak with any one of our experienced family lawyers for further advice.