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When to Consult A Child Custody Solicitor

By March 20, 2024Children

In the event of a separation or divorce from your partner, an important consideration is determining who will have custody over your children. This is never an easy decision to have to make and it can be a very tricky time. Custody matters can result in emotional and logistical challenges for all parties involved, but by consulting a custody solicitor at the right time, you can protect the interests of your children and both adults involved. Here, we take a look at when to consult a solicitor for custody matters. 

Understanding custody matters

If you have never had to navigate custody law before, you could initially be confused by how it works. However, you can quickly get to grips with not only technical terms attached to this legislation but also how it can help you to resolve your custody dilemma.

Definitions and types

Physical custody refers to the child’s physical day-to-day living environment. The child may permanently live with one parent but still receive visits from the other parent.

Meanwhile, legal custody concerns the child’s upbringing — including matters relating to education and healthcare.

With sole custody, one parent is given primary responsibility for caring for and controlling the child. Conversely, joint custody sees the two parents making collective decisions about crucial aspects of the child’s life.

General legal framework

If you are unable to reach a custody agreement, the court can intervene, making a ruling in line with the basic legal principle that the child’s welfare is paramount.

Key situations necessitating a solicitor

How can you tell when you actually need a custody solicitor? Here are several scenarios where this professional’s input can play a major part in preventing legal issues from arising.

Initial custody agreement

Even if the divorce is amicable, it is wise for you to ask a solicitor to help you draft an initial custody agreement so that you can ensure it is comprehensive and legally watertight.

Changes in circumstances

There may come a time when substantial life changes take place. For instance, should you, being the sole custodial parent of your child, experience major shifts like moving to a new place or altering your career path, these changes could sometimes negatively impact your child.

Dispute resolution

What if the other parent disputes existing custody agreements or visitation rights? If you fail to resolve this disagreement through direct negotiation with the other party, it would be crucial to seek legal counsel in the form of mediation or court intervention. 

Enforcement issues

If one parent violates the custody agreement, the other parent can ask the court for legal recourse. The infringing parent could be warned and/or fined, or even held in contempt of court.

Complex or unusual cases

Some custody obstacles are much easier to overcome than others. For example, one partner could move overseas shortly after the separation, or be unwilling to compromise on specific details of the proposed custody arrangements. In such scenarios, specialised legal advice would be imperative. 

Benefits of consulting a solicitor

There might be situations where you don’t strictly ‘need’ a solicitor’s thoughts. However, by heeding them nonetheless, you can tap into the following benefits — and take a lot of pain out of what could have otherwise proved an arduous and cumbersome process.

Expert guidance

You can trust a custody solicitor to take your specific circumstances into account before providing you with expert advice tailored to suit, safeguarding your rights and interests as a result.

Mediation and negotiation

If you and the other parent are struggling to agree on custody arrangements, we encourage you to pursue such dispute resolution methods as mediation before involving a court in custody decisions.

As part of the mediation process, a solicitor can act as a neutral third party facilitating constructive discussion between the parents as they endeavour to keep the child’s best interests close to heart.

Legal representation

Despite your best efforts, custody matters could still escalate to litigation. If this does happen, you must be represented in court by a legal professional with specialist expertise in family law

A solicitor will be able to argue your case to the court — and help you secure the best outcome for your child. 

Preparing to consult a solicitor

So, you have decided to get in touch with a solicitor. By initially meeting up with them in person, you will have the time to speak at length about your situation. However, it’s important to prepare for this consultation carefully so that you can make the most of it. 

What to bring

By phoning our team on 024 7638 2343, you can learn how to arrange an initial consultation with a custody solicitor

In preparation for this meeting, remember to gather evidence of your income, documentation of any existing custody agreements, and details of communication with the other parent.

Questions to ask

At the consultation, you can deepen your understanding of the legal process by asking us about the outcomes it could bring and the costs that would be involved. We are committed to putting your mind at rest.

You are also welcome to ask us questions in advance by emailing