Separation & Children

If you are separating from your partner, and you have children together, the arrangements to be made for the kids will be your top priority. Separation and children arrangements can be made amicably between yourselves - but if not, we can help.

Put My Mind At Ease

“Watermans answered all of the questions I had and put my mind at ease about the process. Everything went very smoothly, and I would definitely recommend their services.”

C Bridges, Family Law Services

The Short of it

  • If you are separating from your partner, and you have children together,

    the arrangements to be made for the kids will be your top priority.

  • If you can’t agree about what should happen with the kids,

    get advice early before it’s too late to change things.

  • Court applications normally relate to where a child lives

    and when they see the other parent, but can also deal with one-off issues such as holidays and schooling.

  • Everything we do at Watermans is about getting you the resolution you need

    and providing Straightforward legal advice. It should be that simple.

  • The Long of it

    Legalities of separating with kids

    What are the legalities of separating when you have kids?

    If you are separating from your partner, and you have children together, the arrangements to be made for the kids will be your top priority.

    You and your ex will need to decide where the children live, and when they see the other parent. There are no specific legal rules about this, and every family can arrange what works best for them. The law does require everyone to put the best interests of your children first – as you might expect. You will also need to take your child’s own wishes into account, depending on their age and ability to form a view, but the parent must make the decisions.

    Many couples will sort this out between themselves, and if the arrangement is working for your family you don’t need the court to approve it – you can just get on with it. However, disputes do arise and if you can’t resolve them, one of you might need to ask the court to decide what should happen. Court applications normally relate to where a child lives and when they see the other parent, but the court can also deal with one-off issues such as holidays, schooling and medical treatment.

    It is not advisable to try to handle this yourself. Going to court about your kids is emotionally demanding, and it may end up costing more if you need to get a solicitor to sort things out further down the line. Our team has many years’ experience of successfully representing parents in all types of court cases involving children. We can start or respond to litigation, advise you on prospects, and represent you at hearings. You will need to come to court (although you will not normally be expected to give evidence or be cross-examined) and we will explain the process to you beforehand and support you throughout.

    Judges focus on sorting out practical arrangements for a child rather than getting into the reasons for your separation or any other dispute between adults. In our experience, the courts do not automatically favour fathers or mothers and every case is dealt with individually – indeed, the court can make a decision that neither parent has asked for if that is best for the child.

    If you are involved in a dispute about your child it is better to seek legal advice sooner rather than later. Once a care arrangement has become established and your child has settled into it, a court will start to become more reluctant to change it and disrupt your child’s routine. It’s important not to allow an arrangement to be established if you don’t think is best for your child, as it will become harder to change as time goes on.

    Sometimes, too, an urgent situation will arise such as the other parent not returning a child after contact or attempting to take them out of the country. Steps can often be taken in these situations but it’s always better to prevent them happening in the first place. If you are worried about this within your family, please contact us for urgent advice.

    How can we help?

    How can Watermans help me to make arrangements for my children following a separation from my partner?

    If you are involved in a dispute about your child it is better to seek legal advice sooner rather than later. Once a care arrangement has become established and your child has settled into it, a court will start to become more reluctant to change it and disrupt your child’s routine. It’s important not to allow an arrangement to be established if you don’t think is best for your child, as it will become harder to change as time goes on.

    Sometimes, too, an urgent situation will arise such as the other parent not returning a child after contact or attempting to take them out of the country. Steps can often be taken in these situations but it’s always better to prevent them happening in the first place. If you are worried about this within your family, please contact us for urgent advice.

    Your first meeting with us

    Coming to see a family lawyer can be a bit daunting – this is what to expect from your first meeting

    It’s normal to be a bit nervous before your first meeting with a family lawyer – and even if you feel confident, it doesn’t do any harm to know what to expect.

    The process starts when you first get in touch. We can normally offer a fixed fee for an initial consultation with one of our specialist family lawyers, payable on the day of the meeting. We will agree this fee with you before we go any further. We will also need to check that we haven’t acted for anyone else involved in the dispute (they won’t know we have done this).

    If that’s all OK, we will then send you a link to a secure online verification system to carry out some compliance checks required by law. We will also ask you to fill out a short questionnaire collecting basic information such as the dates of separation. This saves time during our meeting and means we can get straight to the point.

    If you’re being taken to court, we’ll usually ask you to scan the court papers over to us in advance. You may have received a solicitors’ letter and if so, it helps if we can see this beforehand too.

    It’s a good idea to think through beforehand what questions you have and what you want to achieve from the meeting. For example, do you have any thoughts about how you’d like to resolve issues about your children? What would a good outcome look like to you? What are your priorities? It’s OK if you don’t have answers yet, but it’s worth starting to reflect on this.

    The meeting itself will be over secure video link or in person, with one of our specialist family lawyers. It’s unlikely we can resolve everything in a single session, but our goal is for you to come away knowing how the law applies to your situation, the options for sorting things out, and roughly what that might cost in legal fees. You can then make informed decisions about what to do next.

    Please do not worry about getting emotional or not knowing exactly what to say. Family disputes are very personal, and many people find it upsetting to talk about them. We understand and we won’t judge. And just to be clear, everything you tell us is completely confidential.

    What happens after the meeting is up to you. We won’t take any action in your case or contact anyone else involved unless you tell us to do so.

    If you have any questions about consulting a family lawyer or want to discuss a first meeting, please get in touch.

    Why Watermans?

    Why choose Watermans as my family lawyer?

    Our family law team at Watermans have you and your children’s best interests at heart, as well as the knowledge and expertise needed to carry out these family law services. We offer Straightforward legal advice, and help you every step of the way.

    We’re experts in family law and we know our stuff – but we’re also normal people you can have a real conversation with. We don’t use legal jargon (or Latin), we give straightforward advice, and we won’t judge or patronise you. Coming from a range of backgrounds and with our own life experiences to draw on, we understand and empathise with how stressful family disputes can be.

    We know how important it is to trust your lawyer and that you need to know we’re in your corner. Our aim is to work in partnership with you to help resolve things quickly and cost-effectively so you can move forward with your life.

    Get in touch with us

    Everything we do at Watermans is about getting you the resolution you need and making that process straightforward. Start the process by sending us your details below or calling us on 0131 555 7055

    Consent

    Our Family Law expert

    “People often say to me that family law must be a depressing job – but I’ve never felt that. What we do makes a difference. I love working with my clients to understand their stories, help them work out where they want to get to, and collaborate with them to achieve their goals. Seeing people come through it and embark on a new stage of their lives is a great feeling.”

    Dianne Millen, Head of Family Law