The Courts are a very blunt instrument to deal with the sensitive issue of children. We encourage parties to resolve issues regarding children in a forum other than the Courts. Even after a separation both parties will have to continue to parent the children, possibly for many years. Where possible it is much better therefore if the parties can attend mediation or family therapy to resolve any issues regarding the children so that they can be kept out of the legal process to the largest extent possible. We can refer clients to a number of such professionals.
In most cases a married couple will be granted joint custody of their children following a separation, although the children will very often have their primary place of residence with one spouse. The issue of maintenance for children arises where the children primarily reside with one party and in those cases the other party pays child maintenance in order to help pay for their ongoing costs. There are no set levels of maintenance and it varies from case to case. It is based on both the needs of the party in receipt of maintenance and the ability of the paying party to pay, although at the end of the day it is the ability of the paying party to pay that is usually the dominant factor.
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