Men’s & Father’s rights in divorce and child custody
What are my rights in divorce as a man? Is the divorce process different for a man and a woman?
It is a general misconception that men do not have the same rights as women when it comes to divorce or that women will be looked upon more favourably in court. In fact, men’s rights in divorce are the same as women’s, including deciding who the children will live with, arrangements regarding spending time with children, calculating maintenance and child support.
Who gets custody of children in a divorce in the UK?
More often than not, both parents will maintain joint custody of the child. This means that the child will spend half their time with one parent and half with the other.
Do fathers have the same rights as mothers in a divorce in the UK?
Often, dad’s rights regarding custody and spending time with their children have been called into question by the media but it is the view of the law that it is in the best interest of the child to have a meaningful ongoing relationship with both of their parents. Therefore if one parent tries to restrict the other from seeing the child, they do not have the right to do this. The only exception is if there is a risk to the child’s welfare.
What if my spouse does not allow me to see my kids after separation?
If one parent is trying to prevent the other contact with the child, it is possible to take court proceedings to address this. At which point CAFCASS (the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service) may become involved and will make a parenting plan, which allow the parents to agree on times for contact.
Before the case can be taken to court however, it will be expected that mediation has been attempted, this can be challenging to achieve if one parent is unwilling to discuss compromises.
Will I have to pay for child maintenance?
In most cases, the parent who does not have most of the day-to-day care responsibilities for the child pays some money to the one who does.
Who will calculate the amount I would have to pay?
These arrangements can be made between couples without legal involvement. However, if not possible, the Child Maintenance Service will calculate how much one parent should pay the other.
When the Child Maintenance Service calculates the amount, they will find out the paying parent’s yearly gross income from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). They will also check if the paying parent is receiving any benefits, and for things that could change the gross income amount such as pensions.
Once they have all of the information, they will convert the gross income into a weekly figure. This also takes into account the number of children the paying parent has to pay maintenance for. If the child stays overnight with the paying parent the Child Maintenance Service makes a deduction to the weekly amount based on the number of times this happens per week.
How can I protect my finances?
If a couple’s finances are linked, it would be sensible to contact the bank or building society as soon as possible. Otherwise, one party can withdraw all of the money without consent from the other, and both parties are liable for the debt. Banks can change the way accounts are set up so that both parties must agree to withdrawals of any amount or to freeze or unfreeze the account. However it is worth noting that it is possible for one party to block the unfreezing of an account, making that money inaccessible. Sometimes, the better option is to close an account altogether.
How can I protect my pension? I don’t want to share it?
The person who is the primary breadwinner in the family could want to protect their pension. It may be possible to agree to offset the amount against other assets such as the family home. Ensure that valuations for all pensions are correct to ensure the division is accurate. Once a financial agreement has been reached, a court order can be drawn up to prevent problems occurring in the future.
Contact our family law solicitors about men’s rights in divorce and child custody issues.
At Breakthrough Family Law Solicitors, we are specialist divorce lawyers with a high level of experience in men’s rights in divorce and child custody issues.
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By Akash Soni