Children

We take a solution-focused approach to arrangements for children, and work with you to find a short and long term resolution.

  • We will refer you to other professionals that can help;
  • We follow the Resolution Code of Practice and Family Law Protocol;
  • We explain the options, trying to find the quickest and cheapest for you;
  • We use agreement; mediation; collaborative law; arbitration; or, last resort, court.

What orders can the court make?

No application can be made, except in an emergency, before attending a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM).

  • Child Arrangements Order. This is the most common application since introduction in 2014. Child Arrangements Orders replaced Residence and Contact Orders. The new order sets out who a child should live, spend time or otherwise have contact with. The process encourages agreement as soon as possible. Before the first hearing there is a telephone conversation with CAFCASS (Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service) who assist the court by preparing background information and the view of the people involved in the court application, usually the parents. CAFCASS also suggest what should happen next. At the first court hearing there will be a meeting with CAFCASS. Often agreement is possible at the first appointment. If not the court can order a full report from CAFCASS, or that the parents attend separately a SPIP (Separated Parents Information Programme) or a number of other options to find the best arrangements for your children;
  • Specific Issue Order – to deal with issues such as schooling, the surname the child is known by or other one-off issues such as consent to non-urgent medical treatment, consent to leave the country to move abroad etc;
  • Prohibited Steps Orders – restricting how a parent exercises his/her Parental Responsibility, e.g. stop the other parent removing a child from school;
  • Parental Responsibility – giving a person e.g. parent, Grandparent, other relative, step-parent legal status as a parent, e.g. to decide on school, consent for medical treatment;
  • Adoption – e.g. of a child placed with you by social services, of your partner’s child or a child from abroad;
  • Special Guardianship Orders – permanently placing a child with someone other than a parent and giving that person legal status;
  • Financial orders for the child’s benefit – in relation to maintenance, lump sum and property.

This may be a good time to consider what options are available to resolve matters, for example: Children MediationCollaborative Law and/or Children Arbitration.

For further information about arrangements for children following relationship breakdown download our free factsheet.

If you would like an appointment with one of our specialists then please contact Miriam our Practice Manager on 01273 646900