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Parental Agreements

A parental agreement can be a way of formalising arrangements for children without the need to go to court. These agreements usually come into play after two partners have decided to split up. In such emotionally challenging times, ensuring stability and continuity for the children is paramount.

Promises are often made with the best of intentions. However, a parental agreement is not necessarily a legally binding document. Instead, you may need to draft a Consent Order and have it approved by a Court. It is therefore essential to seek the guidance of expert family law solicitors. That way, you will be able to rest assured in knowing that you have made the right choices, moving forward.

At Glanvilles, our team possesses a wealth of experience across all matters related to parental agreements. We ensure the process is as stress-free and straightforward as possible, offering full support along every step of the way.

Above all, our family law solicitors are caring and compassionate. Wherever possible, our aim is to resolve issues through mediation and conciliation. We encourage alternative forms of dispute resolution, supported by excellent connections with local mediation services. If litigation does become necessary, our solicitors will provide the most robust legal support.

Our team is readily accessible and we pride ourselves on our swift and thoughtful responses to your queries — whether you prefer to call, email, video conference, or visit us at our legal offices, you will find an approachable and dedicated team able to provide the guidance you need.

Get in touch with our parental agreements solicitors

Contact our expert parental agreements solicitors in ChichesterFareham or Havant or fill in our simple online enquiry form for a prompt response.

Making a Parenting Agreement

What is a parenthood agreement?

A parental agreement is a signed document that lays the ground rules for co-parenting following a divorce or separation. It outlines the responsibilities and expectations of each parent in detail. This plan may include details about child custody, decision-making, financial support, and other practical matters. It serves to help parents navigate co-parenting responsibilities in a clear and structured manner, avoiding any conflict, and placing the child’s best interests at heart.

For instance, a parental agreement might detail that the children live with one parent during weekdays and the other at weekends. It might also include shared decision-making about the children's education and health, as well as outlining financial support. Other arrangements, such as protocols for holidays and birthdays might be included to ensure fairness. Parental agreements can be most effective when they are adaptable and updated to reflect changing needs over time.

While informal promises may work in some instances, it is important to remember that a parental agreement is not legally binding. For that reason, it is important to instruct the services of experienced solicitors. They will be able to assist in drafting a Consent Order, which can then be approved by the court.

What are the potential benefits of a parenthood agreement?

A parental agreement helps to establish the promises and expectations for everyone involved. It serves as a clear, referential agreement that can be revisited whenever necessary, fostering an environment of understanding and reducing potential conflicts.

Here are a few reasons why parental responsibility agreements can be effective:

  • Clarity: A parental agreement will contain clear instructions about the child's day-to-day life and major decisions, reducing the chances of misunderstanding or conflict.
  • Consistency: It will ensure greater stability and continuity.
  • Conflict reduction: It will help to mitigate any potential conflicts between parents by establishing a framework for communication and agreement.
  • Child-focused: The child's best interests will remain at the forefront.
  • Legal Framework: If necessary, the agreement can be made legally binding with a Consent Order, protecting each parent's rights.

Is a parental agreement a legal document?

Written parenting plans do not constitute a legal document. To make your parental agreement legally binding, you would need to draft a Consent Order to be approved by the court.

This process will involve a number of steps:

  • Draft their parental agreement: The agreement should cover all aspects of their child's care and upbringing.
  • Obtain independent legal advice: Each parent should get their own legal advice to make sure the agreement is fair and reasonable.
  • Apply for a Consent Order: This is a legal document that confirms your agreement. The application must be signed by both parents.
  • Await court approval: The court reviews the Consent Order to ensure it's in the child's best interests. If it is, the court will approve it, making the agreement legally binding.

Parents are not required to appear in a courtroom in-person for this process, unless there are significant disagreements, or the judge has questions over the arrangements. It is essential to consult with a solicitor to ensure this process is handled correctly. As laws can change, it is always a good idea to seek the most current advice.

What is the most common child custody arrangement in the UK?

It is important to note that the term ‘custody’ is no longer officially used when deciding on arrangements for children.

Joint Custody, also described as Shared Custody, was previously the most common custody arrangement in the United Kingdom. The parenting plan in this case would involve both sharing in the responsibility of a child's upbringing and the child spending time living with both parents, as part of specific parenting time agreements.

Other child custody arrangements included Sole Custody (where one parent held all responsibility), Residence and Contact Orders (where the child lived with one parent but visited the other), Shared Residence Orders (where the child spent equal time with both parents), or Split Custody (with siblings living with different parents).

Why choose Glanvilles’ parental agreements solicitors?

Choosing Glanvilles as your solicitors brings the assurance of expertise and compassion. Our family lawyers bring years of experience in handling all aspects of family and child law, including all matters related to parenting plans. We strive to make the often-challenging issues related to family law as smooth and stress-free as possible.

Our aim is to assist you in making swift and amicable arrangements for children in the wake of divorce or separation, whenever possible. However, we are equally prepared to represent you in court if necessary.

The family law team at Glanvilles includes members of Resolution, an organisation of family lawyers committed to non-confrontational family dispute resolution, as well as a fully-trained collaborative lawyer.

Glanvilles' commitment to excellence is reflected in our accreditations. We are recognised by the Law Society for Family Law Advanced, a testament to our high-level expertise and the service we deliver to our clients. Additionally, we have earned the Law Society’s Lexcel accreditation, acknowledging our strong practice management and outstanding client care.

Getting in touch with Glanvilles is easy and flexible to fit your needs. You can give us a call, send us an email, or schedule a video conference at your convenience. Alternatively, if you prefer a face-to-face chat, you are always welcome to visit our legal offices. We're here to accommodate your communication preference and to make your journey with us as smooth as possible. We are here to lend clients a supportive hand, to lighten your burdens, and to help find the best path forward for you and your family.

Get in touch with our expert parental agreements solicitors

Reach out to our highly experienced parental agreements solicitors in ChichesterFareham or Havant or fill in our simple online enquiry form for a swift response. We are always on hand to lend our expertise and assist you promptly.