It can be difficult to make arrangements for children when parents separate and sometimes it will be necessary for proceedings to be issued at the Family Court for a decision as to what should happen.
Our expert family solicitors can assist at all stages, from advising you of your position and the most appropriate next steps for you, to negotiating with your ex-partner and making referrals for mediation and ultimately the issue of proceedings and representation within the same.
What will happen
The Family Court will only make an order where it considers that making an order would be better for the child than not.
A parent or person with Parental Responsibility can apply to the Court for orders including:
– Orders for Parental Responsibility & Declaration of Parentage
– Child Arrangements Orders defining Live With
– Child Arrangements Orders defining Spend Time With
– Prohibited Steps Orders
– Specific issue orders
Negotiation involves us writing letters to your ex-partner either directly or via a solicitor who they instruct. This can be effective in bringing about an agreement that both parties are happy with and best meets a child’s needs.
If parents can agree, the Court will not interfere with this.
Before any application to the Court parents must attend at mediation, unless they are able to claim an exemption. Mediation is an opportunity for parents to meet in a neutral environment with a trained mediator and can often lead to an agreement as to arrangements. We do not offer mediation services but can often make referrals if appropriate once we have been instructed.
If an exemption can be claimed, or mediation is unsuccessful an application to the Court is the next step.
Types of orders
Parental Responsibility is all of the rights and responsibilities that you would usually associate with a parent. Mothers get this automatically when a child is born. Fathers acquire Parental Responsibility by being married to the Mother, being registered on the child’s birth certificate, by agreement or by Court Order if necessary.
Child Arrangements Order live with & Spend Time with
A Child Arrangements Order will govern with whom a child shall live and with whom they should spend time. These orders are made where parents cannot agree arrangements themselves.
Specific Issue Order
A Specific Issue Order deals with a dispute in respect of a specific issue, for example, what school a child should attend.
Prohibited Steps Order
A Prohibited Steps Order will prevent someone from taking certain steps, for example preventing someone removing the child from the other parents’ care or from school.
Our specialist family solicitors are able to help with all aspects of Children law, we are also able to provide Legal Aid to those who are eligible. For those who are not eligible for Legal Aid, we strive to provide a realistic estimate of costs at the outset and review this with you regularly.