Is equal parenting a right of parents in the UK?

By Jordana Adams, solicitor at OTS Solicitors  

Nowadays, we read so much about equality that when it comes to children it is not surprising that many parents think that if they split up, their child’s time should automatically be split equally between them.

Top London children solicitors say it is easy to fall into the trap of thinking about “rights”. However, if parents cannot agree on the custody and parenting arrangements for their children and one of them applies to court for a child arrangements order, the court will look at the children’s needs and interests, rather than a parent’s “rights”. 

Sometimes a parent’s perception of their rights as a parent and a judge’s perception of what is in a child’s best interests coincide. If they do not then, under children law in the UK, the child’s needs prevail.

How can OTS Solicitors help?

Whatever your children law concern, Jordana Adams and the children law team at OTS Solicitors will work with you to help find a solution to resolve custody, access and parenting arrangements. 

Please get in touch with us on 0203 959 9123 to arrange an appointment to speak to one of our experienced London children law solicitors.

Equal parenting 

Top London children solicitors talk to many parents about why they want equal parenting. The replies vary and include:

• The other parent is not the best of parents and as they do not think they will get full custody of the child they are pushing for equal parenting as the next best option;

• The child has said that he/she does not want the parents to split up and wants to see them both;

• The other parent works full time and in between that and their gym schedule if he/she does not have equal parenting the child will be cared for by grandparents or a succession of au-pairs; 

• If there is equal parenting, then the other parent will not be able to say that they have more rights or are in control of choices for the child, such as choice of nursery or primary school; 

• If there is equal parenting then neither parent has to pay child support to the other;

• If there is equal parenting then the other parent will not be able to say that he or she needs more equity from the family home to buy a new house, as they will both need homes of similar size and value;

• Everyone is entitled to equal parenting.    

Some of the reasons for equal parenting make some sense; others do not. Many are not related to the child’s needs. Some are just expressed privately (or should be). 

The best London children solicitors find that equal parenting works when:

• There is respect between parents so they do not denigrate and bad mouth one another;

• There is communication between parents so they can talk about monitoring homework, why the mobile has been removed as a punishment, etc. Parents need to talk so there is some consistency and routine between households. The parenting does not have to be exactly the same, but it helps the child if they are not moving between two totally different households with different rules and parenting regimes;

• Location, Location, Location. That is as important for children as it is when you are watching the television programme on how to find a property. Equal parenting just does not work logistically for the child unless the commute to school is manageable from both parent’s homes.  

If you want to share the care of your child and want to be an “equal parent”, then it is important to get legal advice from a top London children solicitor on how to best present your case for equal parenting. It may be the case that the other parent wants to exert control by not agreeing to equal parenting. Alternatively, they may genuinely think that equal parenting is not in your child’s best interests.

Interests, not rights    

If you apply to court for a child arrangements order, then you need to focus on interests and not rights. 

Importantly, the child’s interests are the court’s paramount consideration. Not the parent’s interests.

There is no right to equal parenting in the UK.

However, how you present your case for equal parenting may determine if you are successful in getting a child arrangements order that provides for equal parenting.

For example, it is often argued that a child cannot cope with yo-yo parenting, moving from a settled home every few days. It is therefore important that you focus on how you will address this and on your child’s character and personality traits. That is because the day or the time of the handover may minimise the yo-yo effect on your child. Alternatively, your child may have the sort of attitude to life that whilst his other parent is anxious and uptight about equal parenting, the child is not.

In the opinion of top London children solicitors, when it comes to asking the court to make an equal parenting order, presentation and preparation are key to successfully securing a child arrangements order. Talk of equal parenting rights is likely to undermine your case as to why you think it is in your child’s interest to spend an equal amount of time with both parents.

How can OTS Solicitors help?

OTS Solicitors advise on all aspects of children and Family Law

London children solicitor, Jordana Adams has extensive experience in helping parents resolve children law issues with pragmatic advice, negotiation and representation in court proceedings for child arrangements orders. 

Whatever your children law concern, Jordana Adams and the children law team at OTS Solicitors will work with you to help resolve custody, access and parenting arrangements. Please get in touch with us on 0203 959 9123 to arrange an appointment to speak to one of our experienced London children law solicitors.

 

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