Emmerdale, children and the law

LAURA OUSBY SOLICITOR

As a family lawyer and a (not so) secret Emmerdale fan, the recent storyline surrounding Rebecca and Ross planning to leave the village with their children, Moses and Seb, without Robert (Seb’s father) and Charity (Moses’ mother) giving permission has got me thinking.  The terms “residence” and “access” have cropped up a few times throughout the show and I thought it may be useful to clear things up.

The law is governed by the Children Act 1989 which simplified the law relating to children.  The Children and Families Act 2014 amended many parts of the 1989 Act, the biggest change was the replacing of “residence” and “contact” orders with “child arrangements” orders.  The reasons behind the change were:

to focus the minds of parents on sorting out suitable arrangements for their children, rather than focussing on labels such as “residence”;

to remove the tendency for there to be a winning and losing party when deciding on where the children should live and who they should see.

A child arrangements order simply means an order regulating arrangements with who a child is to live, spend time or otherwise have contact and when a child is to live, spend time or otherwise have contact.  Such an order can therefore deal with both issues of “residence” and “contact”.

There are steps that can be taken by parents to make arrangements for their children prior to making an application to the Court for a child arrangements order – parents can often agree between themselves, sometimes arrangements can be agreed using their solicitors and sometimes Mediation is successful.

If your relationship has broken down and you would like to talk to a solicitor about making arrangements for your child or children, please call today and speak to Laura in our family team on 01228 516666 or click here to email Laura directly.