At Eldwick Law our children’s law solicitors have a solid commitment to the maxim that the ‘welfare of the child is the paramount consideration’. Our children’s law solicitors are some of the most highly recommended in the UK. Everyone on our team is kind, sensitive, and compassionate when it comes to advising and representing clients on legal matters involving children. Like you, we are focused on ensuring that whatever outcome is achieved, it will be in the child’s best interests.
Family law affects children in a variety of ways. We have connections with child psychologists, counsellors, and play therapists who can provide support if your child is struggling with the impact of divorce or ongoing conflict between their parents. You can be confident that by instructing us, you will receive exceptional, responsive service and legal advice tailored to the needs of your family.
We advise and represent clients on all aspects of children’s law, including:
- Child arrangements following divorce or relationship breakdown
- International child arrangement orders
- Domestic abuse
- Child relocation
- Child abduction
- Specific steps orders and prohibited steps orders
- Grandparent’s rights
- Parental responsibility
Below are the answers to some common questions regarding children’s law.
What is a Child Arrangement Order?
Child arrangements orders are a legal document typically drafted up following separation which details:
- who a child will live with and when
- who a child will spend time with and when
- who a child will have contact with and when
A child arrangement order is not necessary where parents can agree on arrangements for their child. If agreement cannot be reached, it is possible to apply to the court for a child arrangement order.
Under a child arrangement order, the person with whom the child will live agrees to allow the child to visit, spend time, or have contact with the person named in the order. Child arrangement orders may include:
- direct and indirect contact arrangements (indirect contact occurs remotely e.g. via Skype or Facetime)
- overnight and visiting contact arrangements, and
- supervised and unsupervised contact arrangement
Before applying for a child arrangement order, the applicant must attend a Mediation information and assessment meeting (MIAM) with their former partner to determine if agreement can be reached outside of the court system using non-legal methods such as mediation. If not, an application can be made to the court for an order.
Can grandparent’s have access to their grandchildren if the parents get divorced?
Where parents separate, grandparents do not have an automatic right of access to their grandchildren. There are, however, options available which may allow access under the 1989 Children’s Act. Under the Children’s Act, it may be possible for a grandparent to seek a section 8 order, these include:
- Child arrangements orders (CAO) – see above
- Prohibited steps order (PSO) – restricts certain actions from being taken by a person with parental responsibility (PR) – e.g. a PSO may be used to prevent a child from being taken out of the country
- Specific issue order (SIO) – whereby the court is asked to decide on a specific matter regarding a child.
When making a decision on an application for a section 8 order, the family court judge will take into account
- Why the application for a section 8 order has been sought
- The connection of the section 8 order applicant with the child
- The potential for any risk to the child if the section 8 application is approved
While the courts recognise the value of grandparent relationships with their grandchildren, this does not provide an automatic right of contact. This is why it is so important to seek the guidance of an experienced family law Solicitor who can present a valid justification.
What differentiates us from other law firms is our focus on niche practice areas and the sheer intelligence and dedication of our team. We understand how important it is for children to quickly experience stability and harmony following a relationship breakdown. To minimise conflict, where possible our team will use alternative dispute resolution methods such as negotiation and mediation to reach a resolution. If litigation proves inevitable, however, we have relationships with some of the UK’s top family law barristers and will work closely with them to ensure the best interests of your child are protected.
To make an appointment with our children’s law solicitors, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone our London office on +44 (0) 2039728469.