Unfortunately, it is common for there to be disagreements concerning children, particularly after the breakdown of a relationship. At EMD Law we understand the importance of assisting our clients in reaching an amicable agreement regarding the arrangements for the children of the family and always consider the child’s welfare to be of paramount importance.
We always promote mediation and settlement where possible thus avoiding an escalation of unnecessary costs. However, we do realise that in some cases where the other parent or carer is not cooperating it will be necessary to apply to the Court for their assistance in settling the dispute and we will advise and assist you throughout the Court process. It should be noted that the Court will only make an order if it thinks that would be best for the child, and sometimes the court may decide that it would be best not to make any order, particularly where the Parties have reached an agreement during the Court process.
We can assist you with the following:
We can advise you on whether you have Parental Responsibility and if you do not if and how you can obtain it.
If there is a dispute as to who the child shall live with we can assist with reaching an agreement or if not possible apply to the Court for a Residence Order.
We can deal with both situations where one parent has been denied contact with their child(ren) or where the mother/father is seeking contact with your child(ren) and you are not in agreement. We can assist in reaching an agreement as to a set pattern of contact or we can apply to the Court for a Defined Contact Order.
Specific Issue Order
This is where you apply to the Court to determine a specific question which has arisen in connection with any aspect of parental responsibility for a child. For example, you want to change your child’s name but the other parent is not in agreement. This type of order can only be made against a parent.
Prohibited Steps Order
This is a limited type of order that can only be made against a parent. It is generally utilised to prevent the removal of a child from the jurisdiction, or changing the child’s schooling or name. However, an order can also prevent the removal of a child from school/nursery or from the care of a particular person.
Financial Provision for Children
When financial provision for children is sought other than in the context of divorce proceedings there are 2 ways in which this can be achieved: either by application to the Child Support Agency (CSA) or by application under the Children Act 1989. We can advise you on the necessary route if agreement cannot be reached amicably. We can also advise you on financial provision f or children within divorce proceedings and if you require this please click on our page titled ‘Divorce and Financial Remedy Proceedings’.
You do not necessarily have to be the parent of the child(ren) and some types of orders can be applied for by people who are not parents although you may need to apply for permission from the Court first. We suggest you contact us to find out if you can apply.
It is important to note that the Court is obliged to put a child’s welfare first when there is a conflict between the interests of that child and a parent. The Court also has to take into account a number of factors, which are as follows:
The wishes and feelings of the child in light of their age and understanding.
The child’s physical, emotional and educational needs.
The likely effect on the child of any change in circumstances.
The child’s age, sex, background and any characteristics which the Court considers relevant.
Any harm which the child has suffered or is at risk of suffering.
How capable each of the parents (and any other person in relation to whom the court considers the question to be relevant) is of meeting the child’s needs.
The range of powers available to the court in the proceedings.
Not all the above will apply to each case and therefore the Court will take into account all relevant facts and attach varying degrees of weight and importance to those factors according to the circumstances of each case.