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separation & shared residency

(3 Posts)
glitterball Sun 07-Sep-08 23:02:03

although(allegedly)a lawyer I am no expert on family law, have been asked for advice, but really dont know the answers:

basic scenario is friend is on the verge of splitting with his dw. she works full time 9-5, he also works but mainly at weekends so spends a lot of time with dcs during week, & so wants shared residency. he doubts dw will agree (understandable as he is leaving her for ow sad, & cant afford to set up home on his own so will either have to live with ow or his parents)

is there any alternative if she wont agree to going through the courts? if it does go down that route, is there anything he can do in terms of legal rights of access to the dcs in the interim - he is worried that when he leaves, she may refuse to let him see dcs much or at all & also although he does most of childcare now, whether that would be outweighed by other factors?

i've said i think inevitably he will need to find a good family lawyer as i dont think this is something they are likely to resolve between them

cargirl Sun 07-Sep-08 23:04:41

my understanding is that they look at the best interests of the children. If he has always looked after them during the week then the courts will look for that to continue.

lilyfire Mon 08-Sep-08 23:44:06

am a family lawyer (allegedly). Both parents will have parental responsibility for the children, so they start with equal legal rights. The ideal situation is that they sort out between themselves how much time the children spend with each parent and there is no need for any orders (such as shared residence orders). The best way to achieve this is probably to go and see a mediator or a couple counsellor (if you can find one who is happy to deal with helping married parties sort out practical arrangements) and try and get as much as possible sorted before the separation takes place. It may be a good idea for both parties to go and see family lawyers (choose someone on the law society's family law panel and a member of resolution - as they are likely to try and promote an amicable solution) so each person is aware of the legal situation and this could feed into the mediation.
If it goes through court it will be expensive, stressful and probably awful for everyone, so would advise him to try and avoid if at all possible. Really a question of working out something practical, which lets the children keep as much normality as possible and see as much of each parent as possible. The court would try and achieve this, but so much better if parents could themselves.
All sounds like should be possible to achieve, but if emotions are running high and allegations start flying around, then sometimes does go horribly wrong and whilst the mother can't exactly refuse to let him see the children, if she tries to then he may have to go to court and it's often a lengthy process to sort it out.

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