Children’s welfare is the number one priority
In all divorce and separation negotiations and legal processes, the wellbeing and happiness of any children of the relationships with them must be the overriding consideration for all concerned.
It’s always preferable for parents to come to an agreement about child arrangements, including where the children will live, who they will live with, and how contact with the other parent will be maintained and facilitated, but we understand that this can be difficult to achieve.
If you are able to agree on the arrangements for children, we can help you apply to the court to turn the family agreement into a consent order, which means that the terms of the agreement become legally binding.
If you can’t agree on the arrangements, there are a number of orders that can be made by the court. Our expert child law solicitors can guide you through the processes and help you seek the order that is most appropriate for your particular situation.
We understand the emotional and sensitive nature of child law applications and how negotiations relating to children can become heated and acrimonious. We always strive to carry out child law negotiations as pragmatically as possible and help the parties to the divorce or separation reach agreement quickly and amicably, but if this is not possible or appropriate, we will assist you with family court applications and appearances.
Child law court orders
There are a number of child-related court orders the court may grant and which will be right for you and your children will depend on your personal circumstances and what you wish to achieve.
Our family law team in Sevenoaks can help you understand your options and provide legal advice and guidance throughout the process as you apply to the court.
The following are some of the powers the court has when determining arrangements for children:
- Child arrangements order: to specify the living and contact arrangements for children on divorce or separation.
- Specific issues order: sets out particulars relating to the child’s upbringing such as education, religion, healthcare and medical treatments.
- Prohibited steps order: specifies certain behaviours that are not allowed, such as removing a child from school, their home, the local area, or the UK.
- Parental responsibility: sets out the rights and responsibilities that both parents have under UK law. Not all parents have automatic parental responsibility for their child. You can apply for parental responsibility under certain circumstances if you did not receive it automatically when the child was born or adopted.
- Financial provision order: when the parents are not married and cannot reach agreement about the division of property, a financial provision order can specify how family finances are to be handled following relationship breakdown and separation. (Please Note; child maintenance decisions should be sought through the Child Maintenance Service)
- Leave to remove: if a parent wishes to move out of the country or their local jurisdiction and take their children with them permanently, it may be necessary to apply for the court’s permission to do so.
- Abduction: the courts can act in cases where children have been taken from their local jurisdiction and retained elsewhere illegally. It is vital to seek legal advice quickly in order to have the best chance of bringing your children back home.
Finding solutions to child law and parenting issues
When making decisions about children arrangements on divorce and separation, the court will start from a point that maintaining relationships with both parents is important and that, whenever appropriate, the children’s feelings and wishes should be taken into consideration.
For more information about how you can reach agreement with a partner about child arrangements, you can download our free guide.
To book an appointment with a family law solicitor in Sevenoaks or to discuss other issues arising from relationship breakdown such as a divorce financial settlement, call Wellers Reece-Jones on 020 8290 7992 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to make an enquiry.