Divorce and Children

When considering the consequences of divorce or dissolution for the children involved,  is important to determine whether you have parental responsibility.

Parental responsibility is defined as all the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which by law a parent of a child has in relation to the child.

Parental responsibility gives the parent the responsibility or taking all the important decisions in the child’s life including education, religion and medical care. It also enables a parent to make day-to-day decisions.

The duties involved in parental responsibility will change from time to time as the child grows older.

If you are married, both you and your spouse will have parental responsibility for any children of the marriage.

Mothers automatically acquire parental responsibility upon the birth of their children. If you are an unmarried father and were registered on the child’s birth certificate after 1 December 2003 then you will have acquired parental responsibility for your child.

If this does not apply to you, you will need legal advice on how to obtain parental responsibility for your child.

It is widely accepted that parents are the best people to decide with whom their children should reside and when they see their non-resident parent. If, however, an agreement cannot be reached, either parent can make an application for residence and contact and other orders pursuant to the Children Act 1989.

Cunningtons’ Family Law department can give you full information and advice in this regard.

Cunningtons LLP: Specialist Family Lawyers

Cunningtons LLP has a specialist Family Law Department based at its offices in Braintree, Wickford and Chelmsford.

Our team of Family Law solicitors has significant expertise in Family Law and Children Law and we are all members of Resolution. In other words, we are experts at what we do, so you can be sure that the advice you receive is accurate and realistic.


The following are common questions we get asked about Family Law issues. If you cannot find the answer here, please ask us for an answer.

Although you do not need a solicitor to get a divorce or dissolution, you will benefit from clear legal advice at a stressful time in your life.

The advice of a professional divorce solicitor who has experienced many similar situations in the past in invaluable.

If your divorce ends up in court it can be very expensive – upwards of £3,000.

That is why as experienced Family Law solicitors we see that it is so much easier and simpler to agree all the terms amicably by discussion.

The standard cost of a divorce is usually between £500 and £1000, depending on whether you are the petitioner or the respondent.

That sum excludes anything to do with finance.

Although in principle a divorce or dissolution aims at a 50/50 split, is unusual for all assets and income to be split equally.

The division depends on many factors including childcare, cost of living, and the perceived financial input of each party.

The division doesn’t have to be dealt with in court, it is more likely to be a decision achieved through mediation.

A Family Lawyer acting in a Divorce – or a Divorce Solicitor – deals with all aspects of the divorce proceedings, financial arrangements and childcare issues arising out of a  separation.

Family Law solicitor helps with all other aspects of Divorce:

  • sorting out finances after a separation;
  • making arrangements for children after a separation;
  • protection from domestic abuse; and
  • prenuptial agreements (prenups).


Fixed Fee Scheme

Find out about our unique Fixed Fee Scheme for Family Law cases, and see if it’s right for you.

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There’s a lot of jargon involved in the world of Family Law, so we have put together a glossary of the most common terms, with explanations.

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Family Solicitor Focus

The human face of Family Law: meet Cunningtons partner Jill Wiggins, who works out of our Braintree office.

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