Children

 

We have your children’s best interests at heart

If you and your children’s other parent cannot decide what arrangements should be made for your children we will fully advise you as to the law and do all we can to assist you to reach an amicable decision in the best interests of your children.

There are occasions however when there is no alternative but for an application to be made to the court. The court’s paramount concern at all times is the welfare of the children.

Our Susan Hodge has been a member of the Law Society’s Children Panel for many years and specialises in all proceedings relating to children.

There are various court orders that can be applied for and we have given brief details of the main ones below. We are able to prepare all paperwork on your behalf and represent you at any court hearings.

Feel free to call or email us to discuss your Children law needs.

Remember our first consultation is free to all.

Parental Responsibility Order

If you are a father but you are not married to your partner then you may not have the right to make important decisions concerning your children. If you want this right then you can apply to the court for an order. This is called a “Parental Responsibility Order”.

If you are or were married to your partner then you will already have Parental Responsibility. This means you have a right to be kept informed about your children’s education, health, welfare and you can make decisions about their education, health and welfare.

Mothers automatically have parental responsibility for their children.

You may not need to go to court in order to get Parental Responsibility. If you and your partner agree then you can enter into a Parental Responsibility Agreement, this is a type of contract. We will be able to provide you with the necessary form and help you to complete it.

As well as acquiring parental responsibility by a parental responsibility agreement or a court order, an unmarried father who is the natural father of the child can also acquire parental responsibility if they are named as the father on the child’s birth certificate. However, their name must have been registered on the birth certificate since the 31st December 2003.

Residence Order

If you and your partner can not agree where your children should live you can apply to the court for them to decide where the children should live. This is called a “Residence Order”.

It is also possible to apply for a “Joint Residence Order’ so that your children can share their time between the homes of both parents. We will be able to advise you if a Joint Residence Order is appropriate.

If you have a Residence Order you are allowed to take the children out of the country for less than 1 month at a time without the other parent’s consent.

Contact Order

If the children are living with their other parent and you would like to visit them or have them stay with you for short periods, such as weekends and part of the holidays, you can apply for a “Contact Order”.

A contact order can also decide who should collect and deliver the children for contact visits, where the contact visit should take place and at what time.

Prohibited Steps Order

You can apply to the court if you think the other parent of your children is likely to try and remove them from your care and you feel this is not in their best interests. This Order will also help you if the other parent is thinking of taking the children to live abroad.

Specific Issue Order

If you and the other parent cannot decide about other issues to do with the children, for example, what school they should go to, whether to change their surname, whether they should have a major operation etc., you can apply to the court and let them decide. This is called a “Specific Issue Order”.

Or, if the children have been removed from your care you may need a Specific Issue Order telling the other parent that they must be returned to you

Feel free to call or email us to discuss your Children law needs.

Remember our first consultation is free to all.

Care & Supervision Orders

If your children are going to be taken away from you and put into care by Social Services you may be able to prevent this. You can apply to the court to object to the Social Services getting a “Care Order” and ask the court to let the children live with you or a relative instead.

Sometimes the children may not be taken into care, but you may have to be supervised by Social Services for a while to make sure the children are well cared for, this is called a “Supervision Order”.

Sometimes Social Services can get an Emergency Order to remove the children from your care with the help of the police, if they are worried about the safety of the children. However, afterwards they must go back to court to get a Care Order.

The Social Services must show that the children are likely to suffer “significant harm” if left in your care because the level of care you are giving is not very good or the child is beyond your control.

If your children are already in care you may be able to get them out of care. You can apply to “Discharge” the Care Order, but you must have very good reasons.

If Social Services are involved with your children in any way it is important that you receive expert advice from a specialised solicitor. Our Susan Hodge has been a member of The Law Society’s Children Panel for many years and will be able to fully advise you and represent you at any court hearings.

Remember our first consultation is free to all.

Contact Sarah Price.

Bargoed tel: 01443 830228.
Email: sarahp@michaelleightonjones.com