Relationship breakdown can sometimes result in parents, grandparents and other family members losing touch with children. This can be an extremely difficult time for the whole family. We can act for any member of the immediate family to secure an agreement or where necessary, a Court Order, about arrangements for children. This includes where children should live and how much time they should spend with their parents and other family members.
Over the years the terminology used in children matters has changed, nonetheless the issues remain the same. Gone are the terms ‘custody and access’ and ‘residence and contact’. The words now used are ‘child arrangements’ and more specifically ‘who children live with’ or ‘spend time with’.
There may be times when aspects of Parental Responsibility cause arguments: for instance health, safeguarding and schooling issues. Our team are highly experienced in finding the best solutions for you and your children.
We always put the child first and seek conciliation by mediation or agreement wherever possible. However if an agreement cannot be reached then we will take a firm stand and apply to the Court for an appropriate Order. We carefully and sensitively guide you through this process.
Whether it’s a single parent, a divorcing spouse, a grandparent, a concerned relative or friend, our Family Team can provide support, advice and where appropriate, resolute legal representation and advocacy.
Examples of our experience
Children Act – Special Guardianship
We acted for grandparents who secured a Special Guardianship order in relation to their toddler grandson whose parents had failed to provide adequate care to the child. It also ensured that parental responsibility was conferred upon the grandparents which took priority over the PR enjoyed by the parents. Potential care proceedings and foster parenting were avoided. This resulted in the grandparents receiving financial assistance from the Local Authority (similar to that which is afforded to foster parents). The final order also provided for routine contact between the child and his parents which therefore ensured the stability and security of this little boy whilst maintaining a healthy working relationship between the adults involved in his life and care.
Children Act – Child Arrangements Order
We acted for a mother in a case which involved her ex-husband applying to the Court for a Child Arrangements Order in relation to their two children who had severe learning disabilities. The father sought contact whilst the mother did not believe that father was capable of meeting their very special needs. Ultimately, the Court appointed a guardian and a solicitor to represent the children separately, various medical experts were instructed to assist the court and a consent order was eventually entered into which provided for contact to take place between the children and their father under strict supervision. This ensured that the mother’s concerns were taken seriously whilst enabling the children to see their father in a safe, secure environment, but retaining the stability of the home environment with their mother.
The Family Team are offering an initial free half hour consultation to new clients during which we can discuss your situation and objectives. If you would like to take some initial advice on your family matters then please telephone 01285 650000 and ask to speak to a member of the Family Team.
To view Sarah Pugh’s Article on Resolution please click here