Spending Time with Your Children

Ready to find out where you stand? Click here to get started

Our team recognises the emotional impact of a separation on you and your children. Our advice is tailored towards providing a solution that puts your children first. We have a breadth of experience in advising on complex child contact issues in the UK and cases with an international element.  We are recognised experts in cases involving a relocation within the UK and abroad.

When a relationship breaks down there is often a discussion about whether the children will live with one parent or the other. While we are in an age of 'shared parenting', the reality is that this does not normally mean that children live with each parent 50% of the time. The age of the children, the distance between homes or work commitments may simply make such an arrangement unworkable.

You and your former partner are likely to share parental responsibility for the children, whatever the living arrangements. This should mean you are involved in all major decisions such as those about their health or schooling.

We understand the importance of helping you resolve potential or actual disputes as quickly and amicably as possible, recognising your need to maintain a relationship as parents for the future.

It is extremely rare for one parent to have no right to see their children post-separation.  As a general principle, the courts consider that it is in a child’s best interests to have regular contact with both parents.  The amount of contact depends on the particular circumstances of the family, which may change over time. The child’s wishes and feelings are usually taken into account in any decision (depending on the age and maturity of that child).

We recognise that every situation is different and you will be supported by highly experienced lawyers who are focused on your best interests. We will ensure that you are given clear legal and practical advice together with the support you need to enable you to move to the next stage in your life.

Frequently asked questions

I don’t want to go to court – what are my other options?

If your former partner is not supportive of the time you spend with your children, or you cannot agree where your child should live, sometimes mediation can help you find a way forward. It is often less divisive and both parents have a direct input into an outcome that works for them and their children.

What can the court do to resolve disputes?

In some cases you may have no option but to seek the court's assistance in resolving your differences. This involves making an application asking for an order that the children spend time with you. The court has to determine what is in the best interests of the child. This means the court will look at evidence from both parents and a court-appointed welfare officer (or independent social worker). The court may also want to know about the wishes and feelings of the child involved. 

What is ‘shared residence’?

Shared residence is a recognition that a child has two homes, one with each parent.  It does not normally mean a strict 50/50 division of a child’s time between his or her parents, but the child will usually spend time overnight with each parent.  The court no longer make “residence” orders, but will order that the child “lives with” both parents on a shared basis (known as a “child arrangements order”).   


"It's a team that has a great breadth of experience across the board and particularly in international cases."

Chambers UK, A Client's Guide to the UK Legal Profession

"I always think of them as having a Rolls-Royce service but they are particularly good when there's a European element to the case."

Chambers UK, A Client's Guide to the UK Legal Profession

"Very strong litigation practice, with some of the best up-and-coming stars of tomorrow"

Legal 500 UK

"A standout firm"

Legal 500 UK

"Professional yet sympathetic manner and the team always fights hard to defend your interests"

Chambers UK, A Client's Guide to the UK Legal Profession


If you require further information or advice from our team of specialist family lawyers, please contact a member of our team or call us on +44 (0)20 7814 1200.

"They made a very difficult time much easier to deal with. Their professionalism kept me sane and focused on the outcome I needed"


"It's a team that has a great breadth of experience across the board and particularly in international cases"

Chambers UK, A Client's Guide to the UK Legal Profession

"All have been excellent and have shown great diligence and practicality, along with sensitivity during a very difficult time in my life"


"Rolls-Royce service and particularly good when there's a European element to the case"

Chambers UK, A Client's Guide to the UK Legal Profession

"A standout firm"

Legal 500 UK

"Professional yet sympathetic manner and the team always fights hard to defend your interests"

Chambers UK, A Client's Guide to the UK Legal Profession

Spending Time with Your Children Insights

View all


Resolving family disputes through mediation, arbitration and private FDRs during the coronavirus crisis

COVID-19: overcoming the challenges of co-parenting for separated and divorced parents

Reflections on The Split – S2, E6: …and that’s a wrap

Reflections on The Split – S2, E4: Child arrangements, adoption and a potential sex tape scandal

Children’s Mental Health Week 2020: How to support your child through divorce

The advantages of mediation in resolving family disputes

Co-parenting with my ex - how do I do it?

Alternative Dispute Resolution for disagreements over children: if it's good enough for Brangelina...

International families and the price of child relocation without consent

Reflections on The Split - Episode 1

Parental alienation and intractable contact disputes – when all seems lost

Children, divorce, narcissism and parental alienation - the perfect storm

Expat divorce in Dubai – the challenges of child relocation and navigating UAE residency visa options

Brexit and relocating with children overseas – mind the immigration and family law gaps

Comparing family law in Australia v England and Wales – a world apart in more ways than one

Parenting and separation – the challenges of parental alienation and what to do about it

The Children Act 25 years on - and why the laws on cohabiting couples need reform

Options in the English courts for ‘illegitimate’ children living in the UAE

The Child Arbitration Scheme – resolving family disputes about children outside of court

Global and modern families not bound by borders – themes from the Culture, Dispute Resolution & the Modernised Family conference

The ultimate European divorce – what a Brexit vote could mean for UK and EU couples and their children

Moving counties or countries with children after separation - where to now?

Parenting after separation – co-parenting, parallel parenting and ways to make it work

Moving abroad with children - rocking the legal ‘see-saw’ of habitual residence

EU referendum - implications for international families and family laws if the UK leaves the EU

The challenges with family law agreements for international couples

Alternatives to the family court process - new Family Law Children Arbitration Scheme to be launched

Parenting after separation - when spending time with your children feels like a 'gift' rather than a 'right'

Divorce and separation – putting children first and how to support them

No fault divorce – let’s take the blame out of it

Custody, expatriate children and the UAE

The presumption of parental involvement and the changing attitudes to children’s care

Unmarried parents’ financial obligations on separation - spot the difference

The voice of the child in family courts

Taking children abroad - for holiday and forever

Preventing parental child abduction - International Travel Child Consent Agreement

Preparing for the best outcome in child relocation cases

The Children and Families Bill - from a young person's perspective

The Children and Families Bill - a presumption of shared parenting?

Are both dual role super mothers and committed fathers short changed by our current social policies and divorce laws?

The Grandparent Boom

Child Maintenance: Out with the old, in with the...?

Parental responsibility: the bigger picture

Fathers' rights in groundbreaking '3 parent family' case

Parental rights: new year, new landscape for fathers?

Family Law: Autumn 2011- Family cases - who pays the piper?

Close Load more

Ready to find out where you stand?

Our online systems allow you to get started anywhere, any time and you can save your progress.

Click here to get started

Skip to content Home About Us Insights Services Contact Accessibility