What are child custody laws

Child custody laws determine which parent has responsibility over the welfare of a child in the UK and how a non-resident parent can maintain contact with their child.

Our child custody law specialists are at hand to advice on prospects of securing sole custody or even assist with resolving any joint custody problems including any specific issues or child arrangements. Child custody in the UK is now also known as child residency which provides for the right over which parent the child will permanently reside with.

Child custody in the UK can be awarded on either a sole custody basis or joint custody basis. Both options will be discussed below to allow you to understand child custody laws in the UK.

Article Contents

How can I get sole custody of my child?

One of the most commonly asked questions is how can I get sole custody of my child? 

Sole custody is where one parent is provided with physical and legal custody of the child. The parent who is awarded sole custody is responsible for the child’s physical needs as well as making legal decisions on behalf of the child. As a starting point, securing sole custody of a child can be difficult and depend on a number of factors.

In considering whether to award a full custody of a child the courts will consider the welfare and interests of the child which is the paramount factor. If you are looking to obtain sole custody of a child, you must be able to satisfy the courts that it is in the best interests of the child for joint custody not to be awarded.

It can therefore be helpful to secure early legal advice on assisting you with mounting the strongest possible case.

Obtaining full custody can be quite challenging given that the courts and child custody laws look to promote joint custody however that said it is not impossible. It is widely acknowledged that following a separation an innocent child should be able to reside with both parents and maintain their relationship with both the mother and father.

The following examples may support your application for a full custody of child:

  • The other parent is not able to raise or supervise the child to an adequate standard
  • The other parent has neglected, abandoned or abused the child
  • Your working arrangements are better placed to provide better care and supervision to the child
  • You have been the primary carer in the relationship and have bonded well with the child. It would not be in the best interests of the child should you not be able to remain as the primary carer.
  • The other parent has issues such as drug or alcohol abuse, domestic violence issues or mental health issues which will negatively impact a child.

If either of the above scenarios are applicable to you or you want to explore whether you have valid grounds then please do not hesitate to contact our child custody law specialists who can assist you in your application for sole custody.

What is shared parenting?

Shared parenting is also known as joint custody and involves both parents having the responsibility and opportunity to equally care for their child. This usually means the child lives with both parents who have joint custody.

Both parents will therefore be able to make decisions regarding the child. Child custody in the UK promotes shared parenting as it is widely acknowledged that both parents should be able to bring up their child.

Shared parenting is supported as part of the Children and Family Bill in which it stated, “Ministers intend to strengthen the law to ensure children have a relationship with both their parents after family separation where that is safe and, in the child’s, best interests.”

Shared parenting has a number of advantages which include the children having two homes which provides them with more security. The children also continue to have the involvement of both parents in their life and this also allows both parents to carry out their parenting responsibility.

What are joint custody problems?

Although joint custody has many advantages issues can still arise that provide for difficulties.

Our child custody law specialists understand that social, lifestyle or even work changes can impact an equal quality of care being provided to children. A few examples from experience of helping parents are:

  • One parent engages in drugs or a partner that takes drugs and there is a risk of the child being exposed to this
  • One parent may lack quality time and commitment to the child which has in turn impacted the child’s wishes and feelings to spend as much time
  • One parent intends to relocate due to work or personal commitments. Joint custody imposes an obligation for both co-parents to live within close proximity of each other. Shared custody does not take in to account the fact that one parent may want to move to a different part of the city to advance their career to ensure they are able to provide a better future for their child.

Amongst other joint custody problems is the emotional issue of the child. If one parent decides to move on in life with another partner and decides to move away this could cause emotional stress to the child who would have developed a strong emotional bond with both parents.

Many mothers believe that a father’s decision to obtain shared parenting may be motivated economically as they would pay lower child support payments. If you believe that joint custody results in your child suffering over financial benefit then our child custody experts would be happy to speak with you confidentially so they provide a solution which is in your child’s best interests.


I want full custody of my daughter can you help? 

A common request our child custody experts receive is ‘I want full custody of my daughter’. Following a difficult time during separation many parents are concerned about the welfare of their daughters and sons.

Our child specialists assist both mothers and fathers in securing custody of their children under child custody laws. So, the answer to the common question of I want full custody of my daughter can you help, is yes! We can look to assist you in obtaining full custody of your daughter if you feel the other parent is not able to care for your daughter adequately.

If you are a distressed parent who is denied custody of your child, we can work with you to also explore the area of joint custody where you will be able to have shared parenting with the other parent.

Is child custody in the UK unbiased? 

Many fathers are often afraid to apply for child custody in the UK as they feel the child custody laws will favour mothers. However, the Children and Families Bill 2013 has promoted share parenting which would allow fathers the rights to make important decisions concerning their children and share parental responsibility.

Can fathers obtain full custody in the UK?

Although child custody laws previously favoured mothers with child custody, the views are changing which is helping single fathers. A father who has acknowledged paternity by signing a birth certificate as well as showing how strong their relationship is with their child can obtain sole custody of their child.

We have helped many single fathers with sole custody. If this is a concerning issue to you and you would like to discuss child custody laws, then contact our specialists who can put your mind at ease and achieve the result you require. 

Did you know as well as having an office in York, we also have an office in London and Manchester.Call us on 0330 094 5880 or let us call you back if you would like an in-depth consultation with our child specialists who would be more than happy to help you.