For the last two decades, there has been a notable rise in the number of single dad families.
In 1999, the number of single dad families stood at 330,000. By 2019, this figure had risen to 400,000 – an increase of 22%.
Single Dad Rise is Significant
Of single/lone parent families generally, a much greater percentage remains single mothers. The rise in single father families, however, is stated to be ‘statistically significant’ by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), whose ‘Families and Households in the UK annual report for 2019 can be found here.
Back in 1999, the total number of single parent families was in the region of 2.49 million. As of 2019 this has increased to 2.85 million.
It should also be noted that the definition of ‘lone parent families’ used by the ONS does not distinguish between families where children are still spending time with the other parent from families where this is not the case.
Agreeing on Child Arrangements
Where separated parents are not able to agree on the arrangements for their children, it is possible to apply to the Family Court for a ‘child arrangements order’. These orders formalise the arrangements for where the children will live, and how much time they will spend with the other parent. The orders can be enforced if one parent (breaches) the terms of the order.
It is also possible to apply for a child arrangements order by consent of both parties. This can be an effective solution particularly where the parents agree on the arrangements, but wish to benefit from the security of a court order that sets out exactly what has been agreed in clear terms.
Guidance From our Experts
Mediation is often the most suitable method for resolving disagreements about child arrangements. A mediator is a neutral professional who helps parents to reach an agreement by facilitating discussions about those issues which the couple cannot agree themselves. Mediators, unlike judges, do not make a decision about what will happen. If, however, an agreement is reached via mediation, this can also be recorded in the terms of a consent order, as explained above.
At Slater Heelis, our family lawyers are experts in helping single parents navigate legal issues regarding their children. A number of our team are also qualified mediators, and able to assist in this way too. To get in touch, please call 0161 969 3131 or contact us via our website.