Children

Our team of experts in Bristol have the specialist knowledge to assist you with difficulties involving your children, after your relationship or marriage has broken down. We offer fixed fee services for some of the issues that affect your children. For more information about these, please contact us.

Going through the breakdown of a relationship is an extremely difficult and emotional time. Sometimes the split is amicable but, when parents separate, there are often disagreements about where the children should live or how often you should see them. If you cannot reach agreement, then you can apply to the court for a variety of orders under the Children Act. This allows courts to make specific orders about problems involving your child that you have been unable to resolve between you by negotiation. The court can make four orders.

Child Arrangement Orders

If you are separating or divorcing and cannot agree about where your children should live and how much time they should spend with either parent, the court can make a Child Arrangement Order, which says where they should live. If your children spend a significant amount of time with each of you, the court may make a Shared Residence Order.

Prohibited Steps Orders

If one of you objects to something that the other is doing in relation to your children, then you can apply to the court for a Prohibited Steps Order. If it is granted, it will stop the other parent from taking the action outlined in the order without obtaining the court’s permission first.

Specific Issue Order

If one of you disagrees with a specific aspect of your children’s upbringing, for example, which school they go to, the court is able to make a Specific Issue Order for this.

If you need any advice or assistance with difficulties involving your children after the breakdown of your relationship, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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“My case was very difficult emotionally and I was upset at times, but my Solicitor helped me understand the court case and helped me keep on track.”

“My solicitor, and her PA, were wonderful, putting up with tears on many occasions. They were so understanding and kind to me at such a terrible time – and they made me laugh when I wanted to cry. A credit to your firm – thank you!”

FAQs

What is Parental Responsibility?

Parental responsibility (PR) is defined as “all the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority, which by law a parent of a child has in relation to the child and his property.”

Do I have PR?

All mothers automatically have PR, as do married fathers and fathers who are named on the child’s birth certificate after 1 December 2003. PR can also be acquired by agreement or a court order.

What does the court look at when deciding whether to make a residence or contact order?

When a court considers children’s upbringings, it pays attention to the welfare checklist set out in the Children Act 1989. Among the things the court must consider are:

  • The children’s wishes and feelings (bearing in mind age and understanding of the situation)
  • Children’s physical, emotional and educational needs
  • Likely effect of changes in children’s circumstances
  • Age, sex, background and any relevant characteristics of children
  • Any harm they have suffered or are at risk of suffering
  • How capable the parents (or other relevant people) are of meeting the children’s needs

When a court decides about children’s upbringing, their welfare will always be paramount.

What is Cafcass?

Cafcass is the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service. It works independently of the courts, social services, education and health authorities, and other similar organisations. It safeguards children’s welfare and makes sure they are adequately represented. Cafcass also gives advice and support to children and their families, and advises family courts.

Our Experts

Philippa Morgan

Philippa Morgan

Head of Family Law

Email: pmorgan@lyonsdavidson.co.uk

Direct Dial: 0117 904 5923


Iona Phillips

Partner/ Deputy Group Leader: Family Law

Email: iphillips@lyonsdavidson.co.uk

Direct Dial: 0117 904 5878


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