Please don’t argue, lets enjoy Christmas….

Lucy Barr is a solicitor in Birmingham, specialising in Divorce 

To separated families, or parents thinking about separating, the Christmas holidays may be a time of year they particularly dread. Ahead of the Christmas break it is important to think about your children and how your break up, or potential break up, will affect your child during this time. Making arrangements beforehand is very important.

It is far too easy to get wrapped up in the stresses and strains of a relationship breakdown and not consider your child first. As a parent you need to recognise that the child remains the paramount consideration of the Court, and should also be so, for both parents.

Here are a few pointers in respect of your child when going through a separation:-

If parents are married at the date of the child is born, both parents have “parental responsibility”. Parental responsibility then gives both parents the ability to make decisions in relation to the child to include, education, religion and medical treatment. Mothers gain parental responsibility automatically as they carry the child.  However where parents are not married the father doesn’t automatically have parental responsibility.

In order for father to obtain parental responsibility he must either:-

a) Be married to the child’s mother;

b) Obtain order of the Court or have the agreement of the mother to acquire it;

If Court action does become necessary there are several remedies available to the Court to assist the parents when resolving their dispute:

  1.  A “Child Arrangement Order” confirms the amount of time a child spends with each parent.
  2. The Court can order that a parent has “Contact” with the child and will define the specific times that each parent spends with the child.

In addition the Court can prohibit certain actions involving a child including removing them from the jurisdiction; or a specific issue order, for example to confirm which school a child should attend.

As legal advisors we encourage communication and we are reluctant to involve the Court unless it is absolutely necessary.

If separation or divorce is imminent it important that arrangements are in place so that both parents put their children’s needs first. Therefore please put your children first, don’t argue, and have a very Happy Christmas

Harrison Clark Rickerbys has 400 staff and partners based at offices, who provide a complete spectrum of legal services to both business and private clients, regionally and nationwide. To contact our teams, click on the links below for our:


Lucy Barr
Direct Dial: +44 (0)121 454 0739
Mobile: +44 (0)7791 894 891