So, this is a question of terminology and, unlike ‘common law spouse’ (if you read my last blog you will know that term stopped being relevant in 1753 but is still used!), custody has been a term used in a lot of our lifetimes and I can forgive this one provided that you are not a lawyer still using it.
Personally, I hate the term ‘custody’; for me it conjures up visions of prisons and a feeling of being held against one’s will.
Before the Children Act 1989, we referred to parents being awarded ‘custody’ and ‘access’ to their children. The Children Act, however, refreshed the vocabulary used and we then had ‘residence’ and ‘contact’, as well as ‘parental responsibility’. The idea was to shift the focus of parents from what they perceived to be their rights (custody, access) to their responsibility for their Child and what their child’s rights are.
In April 2014, when the Children and Families Act 2014 came into force, the terminology changed again (you can be forgiven for getting confused). Now we speak of Child Arrangements Orders which determine who the children ‘lives with’ and who they ‘spend time with’.
For more information on the issues raised in this blog please do not hesitate to contact one of the team at Rayden Solicitors.