Divorce can be an upsetting time, both for the husband and wife and for any children involved, but in law both parents have a responsibility to support their children after a divorce.
Firstly, as a father you have as much right as the mother to stake a claim for custody of the children, although in practice only 7% of UK children affected by divorce or separation end up living with their father.
The first important concept is that of shared Parental Responsibility. If the children live with their mother, then you cannot expect to have control over their day-to-day lives. However, you are entitled to be consulted should issues arise such as a possible change of school, medical treatment, whether they should get married and whether they should go away on holiday with people / organisations other than their parents. With Parental Responsibility, you are expected to remain in regular contact with the children’s mother.
You have Parental Responsibility if you are named as the father on the child’s birth certificate, or if you later married the child’s mother. Parental Responsibility can only be withdrawn by a court, and this will only happen if the court decides it is inappropriate for you to have responsibility.
You should expect to have to support your children by making regular child support payments. It is common to pay 15% of your net income for one child, 20% for two and 25% for three children, however if you can reach an alternative agreement with the children’s mother without going to court, then so much the better. You can use a professional mediator to assist in reaching an out-of-court settlement.
You and the child’s mother should also try and reach agreement on how much access you will have to the children. A common arrangement is for the children to spend every other weekend and half the school holidays with their father, but again you are entitled to agree an alternative arrangement with your soon to be ex-wife, and again it is best if agreement can be reached out of court.
If your marriage is not working, here at Courmacs Solicitors we promise to deal with you sympathetically. Here at Courmacs, we are experienced and sympathetic divorce lawyers and we will make sure that you fully understand your divorce options, and help you find the right way forward for you and your family. We believe in reaching an out-of-court agreement whenever possible, saving time and money and helping avoid unnecessary animosity with your former partner.