Children and Parenting

For parents going through divorce or separation, emotional and legal complications come with the added concern of how the children will be affected. Through tailored practical and legal advice, we aim to help you work together to put your children's interests first.

Divorce and separation inevitably reshape family arrangements. And when it comes to making key decisions involving your children, passions often run high. We facilitate constructive discussions around what you want to achieve for your children, wherever possible, using resolution methods such as negotiation, family mediation and collaborative law. Together, we can create a parenting plan covering the practical issues of parenting after parting.

However, where an agreement on arrangements for your children cannot be achieved, we have the experience and court litigation skills needed to present your case in the best possible way in family court proceedings.

Our child law solicitors in Bristol and Bath can assist with key child arrangement issues including:

  • Who your children will live with
  • Who your children will spend time with
  • How much financial support is provided for children
  • Who has parental responsibility
  • Can your children be relocated to another town or country

Our clients include professionals, business owners, retirees, and those with international connections around the world, including in the USA, Europe, the Middle East and the Far East, and their spouses. We have expertise advising on international child law issues, including relocating with children both within the UK and across international borders.

Whether you are unclear about what the right outcome is for your family or know exactly what you want to achieve, our child law solicitors can provide clear, sensible and pragmatic guidance to help you get the right arrangements in place for you and your children.

To discuss children and parenting issues connected to divorce or separation with our experts, please contact your local team in Bath or Bristol:

Bath                                         Bristol

+44 (0)1225 956265               +44 (0)117 2530 318

Why choose Sharp Family Law for child law advice?

“I would like to thank you for the clarification and advice you gave me – particularly in respect of the future emotional wellbeing of the children.  It certainly helped at a time when there was a lot of conflicting advice.”

Sharp Family Law is one of the largest niche firms of family solicitors in Bath and Bristol. We specialise in the field of family law and divorce court litigation. We are known for our constructive, strategic and intelligent approach to family law.

With years of experience supporting parents to hold constructive discussions about the future of their family, we enable you to settle on tailored parenting plans that fit your unique circumstances. This way you can take steps to safeguard your children’s well-being today, as well as into the future.

As well as using our expertise, we work with a range of other professionals, including mental health counsellors and child specialists to ensure that our approach meets the needs of your entire family.

Independent recognition for our family law expertise includes:

Our team’s training and professional memberships include:

  • Resolution – the professional network for family lawyers committed to taking a non-confrontational approach to family law
  • Richard Sharp is a trained collaborative lawyer and family mediator in both the UK and USA. Tina Marshall-Kelliher and Victoria Barnett are trained collaborative lawyers

To find out more about our family lawyers’ individual expertise, please take a look at our team.

How our child law solicitors can help your family

Child arrangements

From historic care arrangements to parental work responsibilities, there’s a lot to think about. Our child arrangements solicitors can work with you to find practical living arrangements – for both the short term – while other negotiations are ongoing, and the long term.

How much time children spend with each parent is a difficult decision to make – not least because it can be difficult to picture a time beyond your divorce or separation. Expert guidance and practical and emotional support can be invaluable in helping you get there.

Financial support for children

From child maintenance (also known as child support) to cover your children’s everyday needs, to swimming classes, to private school tuition – coming to an agreement on who will financially provide for the children (and how much, for how long) can seem a challenging and often controversial subject.

It is important to always separate financial considerations from the time a child gets to spend with each parent. We deal with this sensitively to assist both parents to understand the extent of their individual responsibility.

Parental responsibility

From making decisions about a child’s care and upbringing to the right to be informed about their development and progress, parental responsibility is a critical concept when getting divorced or separating.

The rules around who has parental responsibility are complex. We can advise you on whether you have parental responsibility for a child and assist with securing parental responsibility where required, whether through negotiation or application to a family court.

Read our helpful guidance: Parental Responsibility Fact Sheet

Relocation of children

From moving within the UK to taking children abroad following divorce or separation, child relocation can be a very challenging issue. Our child law solicitors can assist parents planning to relocate with children, as well as parents who are concerned about a former partner’s intention to relocate with their children.

Richard Sharp is highly skilled in advising clients on cross-border relocations, helping families to find the right solution for everyone to these complex issues.

Choosing the right approach for your family to deal with children and parenting issues

Constructive negotiation

Often, arrangements for children and related child law issues can be resolved quickly and inexpensively through negotiation between the parties. Our team of specialised family lawyers can guide you through this process, making sure your priorities and your children’s best interests are protected whilst  ensuring the harm associated with litigated disputes between parents is kept to a minimum..

Mediation

Family mediation gives separating couples an opportunity to decide for themselves how to parent their children after parting from each, with help and guidance from trained and fair-minded mediators. Clients are encouraged to co-operate with one another to negotiate and find their own way forward for their family. Our family mediators reality test with you the solution proposed and help you to reach those that are acceptable and would work for you and your children .

Collaborative law

Parents who want to coparent their children meet together with their respective lawyers (trained in collaborative law) as a team to create a range of possible arrangements that might not be available in court but work for them and their children.  Our expert collaborative lawyers will work with you to achieve the best co-parenting relationship possible with your partner to benefit your children.

Family Court applications

Where an amicable parenting plan or arrangement cannot be agreed between parents, it may be necessary to apply to a Family Court for a Child Arrangement Order. This allows the Court to regulate where your children should live, how much time they spend with each parent and any other contentious parenting issues. In such cases, we can ably represent you, ensuring your perspective is prepared and presented effectively, giving you the best chance of getting the outcome you need for you and your children.

Speak to our child law solicitors in Bristol and Bath

For pragmatic, constructive and sensible advice on any aspect of child and parenting law, please contact your local team in Bath or Bristol.

Bath                                         Bristol

+44 (0)1225 956265               +44 (0)117 2530 318

More information

“I would like to thank you for the clarification and advice you gave me – particularly in respect of the future emotional wellbeing of the children. It certainly helped at a time when there was a lot of conflicting advice.”

The Parent Connection: The materials and features on the site have been designed to support you as parents while you work things out for yourselves

  • Child Line: A free 24 hour helpline for children and young people in danger or distress 0800 1111
  • Divorce and Children: Helps separating and divorcing couples to redefine their families and their lives
  • National Association of Child Contact Centres: Provides neutral and safe places where children of separated families can spend time and establish contact with one or both parents
  • National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children: The UK’s leading charity specializing in child protection and the prevent of cruelty to children
  • One Parent Families: Gingerbread, the National Council for One Parent Families. A registered charity working to promote the welfare and independence of one parent families
  • Parentline: Offers support to anyone parenting a child including the parents, stepparents, grandparents and foster parents
  • Understanding Childhood: Understanding Childhood provides free downloadable information leaflets for families and childcare professionals to help raise emotionally secure children.
  • Child Maintenance Service (CMS): The Child Maintenance Service or Child Support Agency (CSA) calculates and collects child maintenance The website contains a maintenance calculator and information leaflets