Child Law Solicitors

Child Law Solicitors

Our specialist child law solicitors understand that family relationship breakdown can be very difficult to come to terms with, especially when children are involved. That is why agreeing the arrangements for your children is absolutely crucial when things go wrong.

At Child Law Partnership, our expert child law solicitors have many years experience in handling cases involving children. With our skill, experience and dedication, we will work towards helping you achieve the best possible outcome for your family.

Expert child law solicitors

Our lawyers have a wealth of practical and legal experience in child law matters and can help you with a range of issues, including:

  • Where your children will live (also known as residence)
  • Who they can see and when (this is known as contact)
  • Child maintenance, school fees and housing costs
  • Whether a parent can relocate a child (both in the UK and overseas)
  • Getting legal access to your grandchildren
  • Specific issues – such as changing a child’s surname or school

Constructive child law solicitors

Our specialist child lawyers are committed to promoting a constructive approach to family issues that considers the needs of the whole family and particularly your children.

As well as generally being in the interests of your children, negotiation is often quicker, less stressful and can promote a good working relationship with your ex-partner for the future.

However, from working with many families we know that sometimes it’s not possible to negotiate or agree arrangements. Circumstances can arise where you may require court action to resolve matters. In these instances, we will act speedily to ensure the best solution for everyone involved.

We represent children, parents, grandparents and other family members – our approachable and friendly child law solicitors will support and advise you every step of the way, making the process as smooth as possible.

Types of court orders

If your case does need to go to court, our lawyers can help with various types of court order:

Child arrangements order

A child arrangements order sets out where your child will live and spend time.

Prohibited steps order

A prohibited steps order can prevent your ex-partner doing something, such as changing your child’s surname or moving abroad.

Specific issue order

This order can decide a particular issue, such as where a child is to be educated.

Need Expert Advice? Contact Our Family Lawyers

Who can apply for a child arrangements order?

Any parent or guardian of a child can make an application for a child arrangements order. The following people also have the right to apply for contact with the child:

  • Anyone who lived with the child for at least three of the last five years and the application is made within three months of the child ceasing to live with them
  • Any person in a marriage where the children were a part of their family (e.g step parents)
  • If the child is in care and the local authority consents to the order being made

Anyone who does not fall into these categories can still make an application and the court will consider their relationship with the child, the advantages of the order and the risk of harm to the child.

If an order is granted to someone who is not the birth parent of the child such as a grandparent or other close relative, the parental responsibility is shared equally between the guardian and the parents, whose legal relationship with their child will not change.

Child law legal advice - further information

If you can’t agree the arrangements for your children with your former partner – either between yourselves or through mediation – then the court will need to decide for you.
The court’s main priority when deciding child arrangements is the wellbeing of your children. In most cases, they view children having regular contact with both parents as being best for their wellbeing. The court will also view contact with the child’s extended family (for instance grandparents) as important to their upbringing.

When deciding the details of a child arrangements order, the court must take into account all of the factors listed in the welfare checklist These include:

  • The child’s wishes and feelings (these are not necessarily a deciding factor)
  • The parent’s ability to meet the child’s needs
  • Any harm or risk of harm to the child
  • The child’s age, sex and background
  • The likely effects of any change to the child’s care arrangements
  • The child’s physical, emotional and educational needs

Parental Responsibility relates to the legal rights, duties, powers and authority a parent has regarding the upbringing of their child. Parents who have parental responsibility are obliged to agree on important issues surrounding their child’s lives and upbringing where possible. When matters cannot be agreed between parents then the Family Court can be invited by either parent to assist in making decisions on behalf of the parents.

If a Child Arrangement Order is in force and you’re named as a person the child spends time or otherwise has contact with, you can’t take them abroad without the consent of the person with whom the child currently lives. If you can’t get this, you’ll need to make an application to the Court, which should be marked as urgent should there be a time restriction.

If you’re named in a Child Arrangement Order as a person the child lives with, you can take your children abroad for up to a month without anyone else’s consent. For longer periods, you need the consent of each holder of Parental Responsibility for the children, or a Court Order which grants the Court’s consent through a Specific Issue Order.

When a Child Arrangement Order is in force, you cannot change a child’s name without the agreement of each person who has Parental Responsibility for the child, or failing this, the Court’s consent through a Specific Issue Order.

If the Court has granted a Child Arrangement Order or Contact Order allowing you contact with your child, and you are being refused access to your child, this could be deemed in breach of the Contact Order. If that is the case, we advise that you apply to the Family Court to enforce the terms of the Order. If you are successful, your ex-partner could face a fine or other penalty. We can consider the terms of the Contact Order in detail and provide advice based on your individual circumstances as to what steps you should take.

If you have grandchildren, the breakdown of a marriage or relationship between parents can cause significant stress and emotional anxiety especially when it comes to retaining contact with your grandchildren.

In the UK, grandparent’s have no automatic rights and often parental responsibility is limited to parents, but you can still apply for a child arrangements order in certain circumstances.

Our highly experienced legal team are always on hand to offer advice and support in relation to your rights to see your grandchildren.

Why instruct our child law solicitors?

We promise our clients the utmost sensitivity and discretion when handling the interests of children. We will provide you with emotional support and expert legal advice to help you establish financial, living and contact arrangements ideally outside of the Court.

In these situations we have the knowledge and experience to help you through both mediation and court proceedings and we’ll do everything we can to support you and your children through the issues that arise.

Contact our child law solicitors today

At Child Law Partnership, we are proud to be very competitive with our fees in comparison to other local firms, without compromising on quality. We are open and transparent with our costs and provide regular cost estimates, for your peace of mind.

Contact our trusted child law solicitors today for a no-obligation discussion to understand how we can help your situation. Call us on 01256 630080 or complete our online enquiry form.

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