Richard Perrins - Partner, Coles Miller

When A Good International Child Custody Lawyer Is Vital9th Sep 2016

Separating parents should take heed following Madonna and Guy Ritchie’s custody dispute over son Rocco, 16.

Madonna wanted Rocco to live with her in New York. Guy wanted him to stay in London. The court initially ruled in her favour – it would be the Big Apple for the celebrity teenager.Richard Perrins - Partner, Coles Miller

But Rocco had other ideas. He ignored the court order and stayed in London. Cue more legal wrangling before his parents reached a legal agreement. Rocco is set to remain in Britain.

It is good to see the matter is now settled.

You shouldn’t need an experienced child law solicitor and mediator to tell you that it is far better for the child if you reach an agreement sooner rather than later.

Preferably using mediation to retain control, minimise conflict, reduce stress, speed up matters and keep costs down.

And yet some separating parents have still not got the message.

Here’s the uncomfortable and inconvenient truth: you may think you know best for your child. But if your child’s wishes do not coincide with yours then you may be disappointed.

And usually under the law, a child over the age of 10 is considered to have sufficient understanding in these situations.

Section 1 of the Children Act 1989 states that a court must observe a Welfare Checklist when deciding on custody. Judges must consider matters including:

  • the child’s ascertainable wishes and feelings (in light of their age and understanding)
  • their physical, emotional and educational needs
  • the likely effect of any change in circumstances
  • their age, sex, background and any other relevant characteristics
  • how well each parent (or other relevant person) can meet the child’s needs
  • the range of powers available under the Children Act 1989.

International child custody disputes are likely to become more common as more people form relationships that transcend borders.

If those relationships break down, then it pays to consult solicitors with extensive experience in this specialist field.

Get expert help from Coles Miller family law solicitor, Richard Perrins. Contact him at our Broadstone office, 01202 355698.