Children are seriously affected by a relationship breakdown of their parents. Research evidence has clearly demonstrated that on average, children from divorced and separated families are not as well adjusted as those in intact families. Although this relative disadvantage does not necessarily imply clinical levels of maladjustment.
If you have gone through a mediated settlement, chances are that the child/ren are at the top of the agenda.
However, if your case goes to court, the involvement of solicitors will add to the distress, heartbreak and sadly, the welfare of the children may not take a high priority. Financial issues most probably will take precedence, although the 1989 Child Welfare Act says otherwise.
Fathers often feel that during separation proceedings the courts are unfairly biased against them, where the children are concerned. Although the court may grant you joint custody, the mother will normally be awarded residential custody and primary care giver.
Access may be defined as a right of visitation. In principle the court will encourage contact with the child/ren and the non residential parent to provide maintenance wherever practical.
The Supreme Court up until 1992 considered ACCESS to be the right of the parent. However in the case of MD v GD, Judge Carol.J. in 1992 ruled in the High Court that ACCESS is the right of the CHILD, rather than the right of the parent. Since then the judiciary has tried to encourage contact with the non-custodial parent as much as possible.