Financial & Legal News

The effects of family court delays on children

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The number of children caught up in the family court system and stuck between divorcing parents is now more than 80,000 and it’s taking more than a year for Courts to reach a decision – something family law solicitors say needs to be tackled with urgency.

Effect of Divorce on Children

Obviously, where children go to school, how much time they spend with mum or dad, or where they live are all crucial questions that need to be addressed during the separation process, but with wait times for court dates reaching 12 months, it leads to instability for children.

In the run up to Christmas it’s more important than ever that children feel stable, safe and secure.

“Separation and divorce are hard enough for families, but with no certainty from the Courts it’s an added burden for all involved,” says Divorce and Family Law Solicitor Lucinda McWatt.

Divorce and Children

When couples decide to separate or divorce, there are many decisions to be made, and living and contact arrangements for their children need to be agreed.

In some cases. when the separating parents are amicable, solicitors can avoid court proceedings by adopting a practical conciliatory approach to their cases and will advise clients in respect of alternative dispute resolution, including mediation. There is a no order principle, which means that if parents can agree arrangements in respect of a child then the court do not need to intervene and make any orders.

In other circumstances, the Family Courts will need to be involved to determine and stabilise the arrangements. The court may also need to determine specific points such as which school a child should attend.

“We do recognise that an alternative non-confrontational approach to separation issues can help when children are involved and mediation can help avoid adversarial court proceedings.

“With the added burden of Courts taking 12 months to decide on the best way forward this can only be a good thing and something we are discussing with separating families,” added Lucinda.

“For those married parents, no fault divorce has helped the process with more couples seeking an amicable separation when the marriage has simply ended.”

As members of Resolution at Pearson Solicitors, we are committed to a Code of Practice that promotes a constructive approach to family issues and considers the needs of the whole family, particularly the children. We will assist you in focusing on what is important in the long term.

How can we help?

For legal advice on child contact and resident or issues around divorce and children contact our divorce and family law solicitors on 0161 785 3500 or

Please note that the information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers Ltd or any of its members or employees. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.

Written by Lucinda McWatt


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