Children * Divorce * Separation
When any relationship breaks down, the usual relations that the children have with you and important adults in their life can suddenly alter. Not because of what you have done but because of the new situation that you and the children find themselves in. And not always with the child’s prior approval or knowledge.
Suddenly an issue can arise over which parent a child will spend the day with or live with, or how regular the absent parent should see their children. Suddenly, grandparents who once usually saw their grandchildren regularly are no longer seeing their grandchildren. Suddenly someone wants to change what previously had been a long term and settled arrangements.
In many cases, issues about who is having contact with the child or children can spill over from other disputes such as maintenance payments or new partners becoming involved. This can quickly have an effect on child contact arrangements.
If you are worried about the contact you have with your children or grandchildren being restricted, or the care of your children or grandchildren being changed in a way that is not in their best interests, there are the important legal issues you need to bear in mind:
- The law assumes that the children should have a relationship with both parents. If you are being stopped from seeing your children, it is important that your children’s rights are protected. Remember: it is the child’s right to see both parents.
- The law and the children’s right is for ongoing regular parental involvement with them from both parents. This is not a fixed and set time once a week but should be continual and can also be by telephone, email not just fixed contact at a particular time.
- There is a presumption by the Court that each parent should be involved in a child’s life. Note: that does not mean that the time each parent spends with the children should be fixed. It should be ongoing and continuous, and not divided between each parent in a fixed predetermined proportion.
How we work
In cases where we determine that your contact with your children is being restricted, we will first contact the parent with custody of the children to and seek to represent your interest in negotiating your contact arrangements with your children.
We offer initial 30 minute telephone legal guidance about a contact problem. Select this service and we can arrange to call you back at an agreed time to discuss your issue. If someone is available usually the same day (except at weekends), an experienced lawyer can call you to take instructions from you and discuss your options. We will also provide an initial quote which will not change. Alternately contact us through our contact page and arrange for someone to call you back at a time suitable to yourself.
The court had broad and expansive orders available to assist in cases such as this. Let our extensive knowledge of family law help to ensure that the welfare of your family is put first.
Brief Explanation of just some of the types of orders available:
CHILD ARRANGEMENTS ORDER
A ‘Child Arrangements Order’ can decide:
- where a child lives.
- which parent a child lives with.
- when and where a child spends time with each parent.
- when and what other types of contact, like phone calls, take place.
PROHIBITED STEPS ORDERS
A “Prohibited Steps Order” can decide
The Prohibited Steps Order application can be made to stop the other parent from making a certain decision about a child’s upbringing
- Can be made against anyone, not just a parent.
- Will deal with any specific issue for example preventing a parent taking a child out of the country or preventing the removal of a child from their home, or changing school – any specific issue where another parent disagreed or feels that their say on a matter is not being taken into consideration.
- A Prohibited Steps Order can be made to keep a child away from a person who is a bad influence on a child.
- A Prohibited Steps Order can be made with or without notice to a parent
SPECIFIC ISSUE ORDERS
An application for a “Specific Issue Order” can be used to cover a wide area of potential disputes. Just some examples of this would be:
• medical treatment. Should a child be treated for a specific medical problem.
- School. The choice of school for a child. For example which school the child should attend – a particular primary school or private school or religious school.
Changing a child’s name.
- Which religion a child is to be brought up in.
- Permission to take a child on holiday.
- Which parent a child shall stay over with during the festive break or Easter time. “
PARENTAL RESPONSIBILITY ORDER
A Parental Responsibility Order” can decide who has got the power to:
- Make important and be involved in important decisions about the child’s upbringing.
- Formally gives you the legal rights and responsibilities of a parent.
- Gives you the right to be recognised by hospitals, schools, local authorities and everyone else as responsible for the child.
- A Parental Responsibility Order gives you the official duty to care for and protect the child and be responsible for them.
- With a Specific Issue Although you will not have the power to make the day to day decisions, you are entitled to have a say in them and for your voice to be heard.
Whether it’s regarding child contact, parental responsibility for unmarried parents, specific child care issues, child living arrangements, a specific child issue, a childcare issue, rest assured you can rely on our expert children law solicitors to find solutions that put the child and your interests first.
“Family Mediation Services” can help to decide
- We can arrange for the right sort of Mediation for your case. Mediation is when an independent and impartial person trained person invites both of your to a meeting to discusses a problem with you and your ex-partner to try to find a solution.
- In some cases you must meet with a mediator before you can go to court – this doesn’t apply in some cases – for example if there’s been domestic abuse.
- We can arrange for introduction to a court approved mediator to help resolve your case without court proceedings. So keeping costs and stress to a minimum.
Why do I need a children law solicitor?
Why you need a qualified child law solicitor on your side is simple. While you may think you know what you want, getting what you want is not always straight forward. For example at an early stage in your case you need to ask for what you want and request all of the evidence that you need to prove your case. You cannot do that if you don’t know what you need to prove your case. If you fail to ask for it at an early stage in your case, often judges will not allow it later on in the case because it can be seen as unfair to the person on the other side. Also to ask for it later on once the case gets going will increase the costs and stress in a case because the person opposing you will say: why did you not ask for this early so as to save time and cost and know what they and the court are dealing with? It will also mean that you will need another Hearing so as to get what you forgot to ask for at the start. And it will give the other side an opportunity for the person on the other side to then ask for the judge to refuse it. The judge could even in some cases order you to pay the costs of the wasted Hearing. Whereas a good and experienced children solicitor will know at the start what evidence and orders they need from the Court right at the start of the case and ask for them – so putting your case in the best position to present you as an organised person and the best person to represent the child.
This is just one example of many examples why an experienced children solicitor is indispensable to get your case off on the right footing from the start.
At Paul Norton & Co, we will ensure your case is managed professionally. Starting off from the pre-court application protocol, to the First Appointment and continuing throughout to the final hearing. We can provide strategic and considered advice and on-going support so as to ensure that your case is managed positively and with the best interests of the child always first. With decades of legal and practical experience in family law, you can rest assured that we will meticulously, and strenuously represent you and your child’s best interests at all times.
Nobody can deny that having a family solicitor on your side will give you the best strategy and chance of winning your case.
How much will my children law solicitor cost?
In most cases we can quote you for a cost after the first appointment.
Our guarantee to you is that we will keep to that agreed cost. Therefore even if the case turns out to be longer than expected or becomes delayed, we will keep to the price that we have agreed in writing. Guaranteed.
Sometimes it can be difficult to give a clear estimate. For example, sometimes we can make a proposal regarding a children matter and after some consultation everyone agrees and we move forward. But in some cases there may be a dispute which will mean that the overall process will cost more. That is a fact of life. However, at Paul Norton & Co our children lawyers pride ourselves on offering a highly competitive rate for you.
Whatever the fees involved, we are always up front about fees. Book now for an appointment to discuss your case. We will always make our best effort to give the clearest guidance going forward and are sensitive to needs. And during your case we will always advise you in advance if there are any expenses to pay before the cost is incurred.
And for those clients who need to be careful about costs and can only work to a certain budget, we offer a month by month service where we bill you each month for what we do. We also offer a pay as you go service whereby you pay us an agreed fee and we work up to that point in your case only. Contact us now for your initial appointment. You may be quietly surprised how costs are not always an issue. We will be able to give you guidance on a legal estimate for solicitors costs, court fees, VAT, court timescales, and expenses.
What do I need to bring with me to my first appointment with the Children law expert at Paul Norton & Co?
Coming to see us for expert advice from our children solicitor you need to prepare as follows:
- Set aside 30 minutes so that you are not worried about time constraints.
- Ask your lawyer to explain the process so that your dispute can be talked about.
- We can help you cut through the paperwork. So bring with you any letters or paperwork that you have so as to help us cut though that paperwork.
- Bring details of any witnesses who may be able to help you with your case.
- Be calm and stay focused on the child.
- Bring a copy of your driving licence or passport or a recent utility bill.
- Bring any documents that have been sent to you from the Court.
- And most importantly don’t get stressed about it.
If you do not have those documents, don’t stress about it. Come to the meeting. We can always sort out simple things like documents at a later date.