How We Can Help
The welfare of children must be the paramount consideration. There is a range of legal issues which can affect children when parents separate, these include:
• where a child is to live (residence order)
• what time a child spends with the other parent (contact order)
• whether or not the living arrangements can be shared (shared residence order)
• protective measures for a child (prohibited steps order)
• other issues that might arise e.g. surname, religion, schooling (specific issue order)
• legal rights in respect of a child (parental responsibility order)
• moving a child within the country or overseas (child relocation)
• unlawfully removing a child from a parent or country (child abduction)
When a court considers these issues, it will often take into account (except in some child abduction cases) the following welfare checklist:
• the ascertainable wishes and feelings of the child
• any physical, emotional and educational needs
• the likely effect of any change of circumstances
• age, sex, background and any relevant characteristics
• any harm suffered or at risk of suffering
• how capable each parent is (or any other relevant person) of meeting the child's needs
• the range of powers of the court
Cases involving children must be dealt with delicately and sensitively. We are experts in children cases, including those with an international element where speed is often of the essence.
You may already have a working contact agreement with your child's mother or father. You may wish to safeguard this arrangement, in which case we can draft a consent order detailing the contact arrangements.
In some cases, there is little or no contact taking place and in such circumstances, we can assist in opening up the channels of communication with the parent with whom the children are residing and ensure that contact is arranged.
If however, the parent with whom the children reside is not co-operative then we can assist you in issuing proceedings at court to request that you are provided with contact with your children.
Our experts are proficient in attaining swift results and ensuring your ultimate objectives are met.
Prohibited Steps Order
A prohibited steps order prevents the other parent from doing something without the consent of the Court, for example you would apply for this order to prevent the father/mother from abducting your child by removing your child from England and Wales.
A prohibited steps order requires that the prohibited areas must be specified in the order, and it can be made on its own or alongside a residence or contact order. It can only relate to Parental Responsibility matters, and could be used to:
- • Prevent a change of surname:
- • Prevent you or the father from enrolling a child at school:
- • Preventing a child receiving medical treatment
When applying for residence, you must first consider carefully whether it is in the best interest of your child to live with you. You must consider the physical and emotional needs of your child.
As well as considering what is in the best interest of a child the Court also considers the welfare checklist when deciding who should have residence of a child.
The Welfare checklist consists of the following:
- • The wishes and feelings of the child concerned (considered in light of his/her age and understanding), their physical, emotional and educational needs and the likely effect on them of any change in circumstance.
- • Their age, sex, background and any of their characteristics that the Court considers relevant.
- • Any harm which they have suffered or are at risk of suffering.
- • How capable each of his/her parents is of meeting his/her needs.
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