Family Solicitors in London
(We are happy to cover Surrey)
For expert legal advice or immediate representation regarding your children's matter call a family lawyer today at Andrews & Monroe solicitors on 020 3289 0385 now; or alternatively request a call back.
This article deals with children private law matters (dispute between parents) and not public law cases such as child care proceedings.
Family lawyers will actively encourage parents to engage with each other to agree on how to care and provide for any children of the family when separating. We understand that this is a difficult and stressful time.
Parents must aim to reach their own agreements regarding their children’s care. So parents must determine with whom the child or children should live. The non-resident parent should be allowed contact.
Mediation must be considered before issuing an application for a child arrangement order; unless your case is exempt (domestic violence or abuse in the home).
For further information or assistance please contact the College of Family Mediators. Click here for their website.
Child Arrangement Orders
This is a relatively new programme: the Child Arrangement Programme. The old orders of residence (with whom the child lives) and contact (parent who gets to see the child) have been thrown away and instead the child arrangement order defines with whom the child must live and who has contact.
If mediation has not worked out, family lawyers at Andrews & Monroe will get the parents to focus on trying to agree:-
- where the children live;
- whom they live with;
- when the non-resident parent will see the children and often;
- details regarding the children’s doctor, dentist etc.
- where they go to school;
- what financial support the children will receive; and
- Whether any special arrangements have been made.
It is in the interest of the children that the parents concerned reach a satisfactory arrangement.
Where the parties are unable to agree the arrangements for the children of the family and mediation has failed. Then an application will have to be made to the court for a Child Arrangement Order. Form C100 will have to be filled out by either the client or the family solicitor. The family solicitor would be the better person; however the law has been made friendly to encourage parents to act on their own if they wish.
When making a child arrangement order. The court may also consider whether a specific issues order needs to be made. For example the specific issue could be that the parties cannot agree the GP a child should attend.
The court can also make a prohibited steps order. This means the parent must not do a particular act unless it is authorised by the court. For example a parent will need the courts permission to take a child to another country for long period of time. The courts can also make ‘care orders’ or ‘emergency protections orders’ where the children are being abused or are at risk of harm.
The Judge when determining the child arrangement order will have regard to the welfare check list. An important list looking at all that is essential for the welfare of the child or children of the family.
There will be a number of court appearances if the parties cannot agree; lots of emphasis will be placed on trying to get parents to agree if they are represented by family lawyers or they represent themselves. A Cafcass officer will be assigned and a s7 report will be prepared to help the court and the parties. The Cafcass officer may make recommendations.
A final decision will be made by the court at a final hearing if everything else, prior to such a hearing has failed. The final hearing is really and truly a last resort these days as it imposes a decision on the parties. Sensible parents should not want decisions imposed on them.
© Johanna Cargill, Andrews & Monroe Solicitors