Children Matters

We will always put your children first and regularly advise and assist parents and grandparents resolve difficulties with child arrangements.

Children Matters

It is natural to be concerned about the impact that your divorce or separation may have upon your children.

We offer clear and practical advice to support you in trying to reach an amicable, child focussed solution with your former partner.

When making child arrangements, it is important to consider the short- and long-term implications that any decision will have upon your family. We will always put your children first, seeking to pre-empt and prevent future problems.

We regularly advise and assist parents and grandparents to resolve difficulties surrounding child arrangements.

If Court intervention is required, we can guide you through the various Court Orders and represent you in Court where necessary.

We can address issues of parental responsibility, practical problems such as handover along with specific disputes such as the child’s name, their education or holiday permissions.

Court Proceedings

When court proceedings are issued, the relevant law is the Children Act 1989. The Act states that the most important factor in determining the arrangements for a child is what is in the child’s best interests.

A Child Arrangement Order replaces the previous Orders of Residence and the historical Custody. A Child Arrangement Order is an Order that regulates arrangements for a child that relate to with whom the child is to live, spend time or otherwise have contact. Contact simply means the time that a child spends with an adult.

A Child Arrangement Order may provide for the child to live with one parent only or it may provide for the child to share their time between both parents.

An application is made on a specific Court form which sets out the details of all the adults and children in the case. When the Court receives the application, it will set a time and place for you and the other person to have a first Court appointment called a ‘First Hearing Dispute Resolution Appointment’ (FHDRA). Information about this appointment and a copy of the application form must be sent to the other party involved so they have time to prepare a response. The person starting the Court process is called ‘the Applicant’ and the other parent is called ‘the Respondent’.

Essentially, the Court investigates the issues and enquiries into the possibility of a settlement. If agreement cannot be reached between you both at the first Court hearing, then the Court will direct how the case should proceed. The Court might order that an officer of CAFCASS (the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service) prepares a report to help the Judge at the hearing. If the issues cannot be sorted out between you both then the Court will hold a Final Hearing. At a Final Hearing, the Judge will hear evidence from the adults involved, the CAFCASS officer, and any other necessary person, and the Judge will then make a binding decision.

The first concern the Court when making an order is the child’s welfare. The Children Act 1989 provides a list of considerations for the Judge who decides the case. This is known as the ‘Welfare Checklist’ which is as follows:

Welfare Checklist
  1. The ascertainable wishes and feelings of the child concerned (considered in light of the child’s age and understanding);
  2. The child’s physical, emotional and / or educational needs;
  3. The likely effect on the child of any change in the child’s circumstances;
  4. The child’s age, sex, background and any other characteristics, which the court considers relevant;
  5. Any harm which the child has suffered or is at risk of suffering;
  6. How capable each of the child’s parents and any other person in relation to whom the court considers the question to be relevant, is of meeting the child’s needs;
  7. The range of powers available to the court under the Children Act in the proceedings in question.
Family Fixed Fee Appointments
£150 plus VAT

Sometimes you just need someone to point you in the right direction. Our family fixed fee appointment allows you to discuss your case and find out what your options are before you decide to take further action.

Initial advice with one of our family solicitors is a fixed fee of £150 plus VAT which includes a detailed follow up letter of advice.