Child Custody Solicitors

Our team of experts can help you put your best parenting foot forward.

Arrangements involving you and your children require a compassionate approach

From the thousands of families we’ve helped to reach child agreements, there is very little we haven’t seen and already dealt with.

Relationship breakdown is never pleasant and even more troubling and complicated if children are involved. Custody cases require considered, sensitive handling to ensure that the best outcome is achieved for the children.

During a separation, the court’s paramount concern will be the welfare of the children and ensuring that the disruption and emotional stress is kept to a minimum to achieve a suitable agreement.

Parenting through a divorce or separation is not easy. First, there is the emotional upset and then there is the matter of sorting out child arrangements. When children are caught in the middle, you need prudent advisors who can quickly assess your options, provide workable solutions and arm you with the tools you need to secure the best outcome.

Of course, child law cases can also pertain to a whole host of other issues, particularly if the parties involved are living in different countries (in such cases, our dedicated international family law team is on hand to help). Some family-related lawsuits also require the help of fertility and surrogacy specialists, and we’re equally well placed to assist you with these types of issues.

Our child-centric approach never loses sight of the long-term interests of you and your children. Choosing Shakespeare Martineau as your child custody solicitors provides you with the best chance of securing the right outcome in the fastest possible time frame.

Wherever you are on your journey, our legal advisors can help. Call us today on 0330 024 0333 or use the button below to complete our contact form.

Our Child Custody Team

How Our Child Custody Experts Can Help

Child Maintenance

Our expert child maintenance lawyers work with you to agree on how much you or your former spouse or partner should be paying for your children’s care going forward. We can also help if payments have halted.

Resolving differences: In and out of court

Settling differences out of court can be quicker and more cost effective. We help you to use alternative channels such as mediation, collaborative law and negotiation to reach a swift conclusion and a mutually-agreeable solution. If court action is unavoidable, our child custody solicitors have the skill, determination and know-how to steer you through court confrontations to reach the right long-term resolution. In practice, this could involve a specific issue order relating to your child’s education or a child arrangements order (these stipulate who your child will live and spend time with). We can also guide you through the process of applying to court for access to your child.


Divorce & Separation can be a daunting and very emotional time and worry and anxiety are only natural. There are many things to consider when divorcing including child arrangements and financial settlements, but our experienced, empathetic and highly-rated divorce solicitors are here to provide you with support and confidence.

Global families and complex child custody issues

Families increasingly have complex structures, in many cases involving webs of national and international connections. We’ve successfully made, and defended, court applications for permission to relocate children. We’re also an experienced hand to help you through difficult issues like child abduction, grandparents’ ‘rights’ and financial claims made on behalf of children or against the property you once shared with your ex-partner.

Why Choose Us?

We pride ourselves on our personal touch, approaching child custody disagreements with consideration and sensitivity to achieve a suitable outcome for all parties - we have an excellent track record of securing child arrangements orders that work for our clients.
Our child custody lawyers help parents to discuss and agree arrangements on important matters that concern your children, including where they will live, how much time they will spend with each parent and other issues related to their schooling, health or religious upbringing. We help everyone involved to reach prompt solutions and settle into a new routine.
Where possible, we resolve child custody disputes quickly and amicably to protect your ongoing role as parents. Securing mutual agreement can be the most effective way of preserving strained relationships while keeping the best interests of your children at the heart of decision-making.

What Our Clients Say About Us

Child Custody Frequently Asked Questions

If either parent wishes to take a child abroad, then they should have other parent’s consent, and ideally this should be in writing. You must get the permission of everyone with parental responsibility for the child (or from a court) before taking them abroad.

You automatically have parental responsibility if you are the child’s mother, but you still need the permission of anyone else with parental responsibility before you take the child abroad. If you are unsure whether you, or your ex-partner, has parental responsibility then it is advisable to seek legal advice from a child custody specialist.

You can take a child abroad for 28 days without getting permission if a child arrangements order determines that the child lives with you. However, this doesn’t apply if the court order specifically prohibits you from doing so.

If the other parent, or person with parental responsibility, refuses to give consent then you will need to make an application to the court for permission to take your child abroad. Our child custody lawyers can support you through this process.

The court will make a decision about what the child’s arrangements should be by applying the ‘welfare’ checklist, which includes:

The ascertainable wishes and feelings of the child concerned (depending on the child’s age and understanding);
The child’s physical, emotional and educational needs;
The likely effect on the child of any change in circumstances;
The age, sex, background and any characteristics of the child that the court considers relevant;
any harm that the child has suffered, or is at risk of suffering;
How capable each of the child’s parents, and any other person in relation to whom the court considers the question to be relevant, is of meeting the child’s needs; and
the range of powers available to the court under in the proceedings in question.

It is important to note that the child’s welfare is always the court’s paramount consideration when making these decisions.

Child arrangements orders that stipulate whom a child is to live with continue until the child is 18 years old.

Child arrangements orders that specify whom a child is to spend time with, or otherwise have contact with, continue until the child is 16 years old, or 18 years old in exceptional circumstances. The court can also stipulate the duration in the order.

A child arrangements order will end automatically if a child’s parents live together for a continuous period of more than six months after the order has been made.

It is a common misconception that mothers have more rights than fathers. In fact, if each parent has parental responsibility for a child, a mother and father’s rights and responsibilities are equal. However, it is worth knowing that a mother automatically obtains parental responsibility as soon as the child is born, whereas a father will only automatically obtain parental rights and responsibility if they’re either named on the birth certificate, or married to the mother.

A mother will always have automatic parental responsibility, whether married to the father or not. A father can still have parental responsibility if they never married the mother, providing they registered the birth jointly with the child’s mother and are named on the birth certificate.
To gain parental responsibility for the child (if not named on the birth certificate), a father will need to either enter into a parental responsibility agreement with the mother, or obtain a parental responsibility order through the courts. In many cases, fathers can arrange a parental responsibility agreement with the child’s mother rather than go through court proceedings.

Even if a mother and/or father has parental responsibility, it does not provide an automatic right to contact with the child if they are not the parent the child lives with. In most cases, parents are able to come to an agreement between themselves around child custody and how often they will spend time with the other parent. However, if parents are unable to agree, either through discussion, mediation or negotiation through solicitors, they can apply to the court for a child arrangements order.

A child arrangement order has replaced the term of ‘child custody’. However, although ‘child custody’ is no longer used in family courts, it is still commonly recognised and used to define an arrangement that has been put in place to govern where a child lives and how they spend their time.

How The Child Custody Process Works

Not everyone is aware of how the process of engaging Child Custody solicitors works, so we’ve provided an overview below to give you some peace of mind
  1. The first stage is to get in touch with us using the button below – you will then be assigned to one of our Child Custody specialists. Alternatively, you can reach us on 0330 024 0333.

  2. You’ll then receive a free 15-minute consultation within 24 hours via Zoom or telephone to discuss the issues you’re facing.

  3. You are then provided with a transparent breakdown of our costs and, if you would like to proceed, we send you a pack of onboarding documents

  4. Following this, we will guide and support you through the process of achieving a resolution that works for you and your family.

Our Other Family Law Services

Wills & Succession

It can be difficult to envisage a time when you’re not there to provide for your family. However, we are here to guide and support you with preparing a will so your wealth is protected for your loved ones into the future.

LGBTQ+ Solicitors

As part of our ongoing commitment to increasing access to legal services for all, we have developed a focus in answer to requests from the LGBTQ+ community for advice to be provided in an approachable, empathetic and non-judgemental way by lawyers that truly understand the issues they may face particularly concerning their personal matters.

Wherever you are on your journey, our Child Custody specialists are here to answer any questions you might have

If you’d like to speak to a member of our team, please fill out the enquiry form. We will aim to reply to your query within 2 hours

Need to talk to someone sooner? You can call use at the number below

Call Us: 0330 024 0333

Our Latest Updates

Illustration made by Storyset from