More parents are seeking legal advice during a separation or divorce when a child is torn between two homes, a leading family law solicitor has claimed.
Sue Hodgson, of Lanyon Bowdler Solicitors in Shropshire, said the recent high profile case of Guy Ritchie and Madonna’s son, Rocco, leaving his mother to live with his father in London, highlighted an increasingly common issue.
She said: “I have noticed an increase in families requiring advice when their separation involves relocation, whether within the UK or a move of an international nature.
“Often cases involve children who are torn between two homes, homes that can be very different.
“These cases are highly emotive, with both parents often trying to be seen as the better home for the child, and unfortunately losing sight of the fact that it’s not about which parent is the best, but what is right for the child.
“Often cases which involve teenage children are more complicated because it involves a child digging their heels in to try and get what they want, and once children become teenagers the law is not always that helpful.
“If the child demonstrates a level of maturity the court can take their wishes and feelings very strongly into account, and is often very reluctant to go against them.
“English law only provides for orders in relation to children aged over 16 in exceptional cases, so in cases involving older teenagers the emphasis is on reaching a collaborative solution that works for the child and the parents.
“Sometimes, of course, the parents just can’t communicate.
“There can be many valid reasons for this, and when the conflict between the parents becomes about control, about winning and about the parents’ separation, that can be the most destructive element in post separation co-parenting.
“Unfortunately court is not always unavoidable but the important message is that if everyone can be practical and sensible and work with the professionals, matters can work out in the end for the good of the child.”
For more family law advice, Sue can be contacted on 01952 211014 or by emailing email@example.com