Last week, we discussed the plethora of child custody laws in the UK. Here’s a few to show you what you’re looking for. You’ll notice that all of the information is written from the mothers’ perspective – we’re not claiming that fathers are any more concerned with child custody laws than we are.
The first thing we want to know is, which of the common law and statutory systems apply? The answer is very few cases actually apply the common law any more; all the case law is statutory. This is because it is very difficult to get an actual judge to grant a father custody. It usually involves too much evidence, too many witnesses, too much time and, in the most extreme cases, the consideration of unreasonable alternatives. So the vast majority of cases are entirely under the Children’s Act 1989.
The Children’s Act 1989 is the new law that deals with children’s lives. It also has specific guidance for the families who have children, which is again written from the mother’s perspective. It is very useful to find out how the new law will affect you, and you can find more information here: Guidance for parents.
In the Children’s Act, it is explained that all of the relevant courts are Family Courts. There are approximately 70 of these courts, which will hear custody and other family law cases. You may be wondering which court your matter will be taken to. It is important to know as much as possible about how and when they work.
They all use the same system, called the Uniform Civil Procedure Rules. The family court system is split into the High Court and the District Court. The High Court deals with family law, including custody and Child support attorney Houston maintenance, and has around 800 judges. The district courts deal with lower-level family law cases and have around 600 judges. The district court is also where the family court sittings take place.
Some situations will be dealt with by the High Court and others by the District Court. For example, a divorce may be heard at the High Court, or the court may be able to go straight to a District Court hearing after an initial hearing. If there is a request for interim payments, the High Court may make them directly, whereas the District Court may have to have another hearing before it can make them.