If you are involved in a dispute or simply require advice in respect of a child or children you can obtain assistance or representation from one of our experienced Lawyers within the Family Team.
The parents of children who are married or have been married have Parental Responsibility, this being equal rights and obligations in respect of a child. Unmarried Fathers will have parental responsibility if they are named on the child’s Birth Certificate and the child was born after the 1st December 2003. If not the Father may be able to re register the birth with the Mother’s co-operation or enter into a Parental Responsibility Agreement with the Mother or apply to the Court for a Parental Responsibility Order. Our team of expert Solicitors can assist in drafting the appropriate documentation or making the necessary Application to the Court should this become appropriate. Furthermore the unmarried Father will require parental responsibility by obtaining a Child Arrangements Order or being appointed as the child’s Guardian by the Court as may another Guardian. Assistance and representation can be offered not only to the parents of a child but also a Guardian/related person including Grandparents. Further matters upon which a party may require assistance may include a contact dispute and residence dispute. If agreement cannot be achieved parties can be referred to Mediation to try to resolve the problems by negotiated agreement with the assistance of an independent third party. Our team are able to offer advice and make the necessary referral should this be appropriate.
If Children Act proceedings have been issued the court has the power to make a Child Arrangements Order, dealing specifically with:
- whom a child should live
- when a child should see the other parent
- a dispute which has arisen in connection with any aspect of parental responsibility of a child eg. which school they attend
- prohibiting either parent from a specific course of action
- referring issues to Social Services
When a Court determines any question relating to the child, the child’s welfare shall be the Court’s paramount consideration. The Court will expect parties to Children Act proceedings to be reasonable, co-operative and conciliatory. The Court will expect the parties to put the best interests of the children first and to set aside their own personal differences.
You may be eligible for assistance with funding to be represented in Court by obtaining Legal Aid and should you wish to make further enquiries please contact a member of our Team who will be able to discuss with you funding arrangements and eligibility for Legal Aid.