During their marriage, parents exercise joint authority over their children. In theory, this authority remains intact after a divorce. Where children are born to a cohabiting couple, the couple need to make special arrangements about parental authority. Joint authority means that both parents are responsible for raising and taking care of the children. Even if they separate, they must still consult one another about this. The arrangements are recorded in a document known as a parenting plan. The members of our practice group can advise parents about this. The parents may have irreconcilable differences of opinion on the exercise of parental authority, in which case they can ask for mediation or apply to the court for a decision. Our lawyers can assist with both of these options.
Every child is entitled to remain in touch with both its parents. The question of parental access is completely separate from that of parental authority. Even a parent who does not have any parental authority over his or her child has a right – and an obligation – of access. Arrangements about the care of the children after the parents have separated may also be laid down in a parenting plan.
What can we do for you?
As passionate supporters of mediation, our experts are pleased to act as mediators in helping parents restore mutual trust where necessary and make arrangements that suit all parties concerned. Although the interests of the children always take priority, we also look at what is feasible for the parents.
If it proves impossible to reach agreement through a mediator or by other channels, we may have to apply to the court for an arrangement. This may also be required if an already existing arrangement needs to be changed to reflect altered circumstances. Whatever the road you take, our family lawyers can provide expert legal advice and support.