Specialists in Family Break Up

We are specialists in family law and we can guide you through the process of resolving any legal issues relating to children.

Family Break Up

If your family unit has broken down and there are children involved, sometimes it’s hard to agree on key decisions relating to the children such as where they should live.

Decisions about living arrangements and contact with parents

Where parents can’t come to an agreement about where a child should live, and how much time they should spend with each parent, you can ask the court to make a Child Arrangements Order. 

For more child arrangement orders click here

Other decisions relating to children

There are other important decisions relating to children that you may not be in agreement on and you may want the court to decide.  You may want to stop a decision being made, for example stop a child’s name from being changed without your agreement, this could be achieved with a Prohibited Steps Order.  Alternatively, you may want a decision to be made on a specific issue such as which school the child should attend, this could be achieved with a Specific Issue Order.

 Find out more about Prohibited Steps Orders and Specific Issue Orders here.

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When it comes to legal processes, we know how daunting things can be, that's why we offer a FREE 30-minute consultation, so you can talk to an expert Family Lawyer and take the right steps from the start.

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What is a Child Arrangement Order?

A child arrangement order is made by the court, and outlines one or more of the following:

  • Who the child should live with
  • Who the child can have contact with
  • The amount of time the child can have contact with that person

 

Who can apply for a Child Arrangement Order?

  • The child’s parent, guardian or special guardian.
  • The child’s step-parent or the person who has parental responsibility for the child (via court order)
  • A person who is already names on the child arrangements order (if one is already in place)
  • A person where the child has been treated as a member of the family (who is married or in a civil partnership)
  • A person who the child has lived with for 3 years or more (not necessarily consecutively)
  • A person who has the consent of the people in an existing child arrangements order
  • A person who has the consent of the local authority where the child is in local authority care
  • A person who has the consent of each person(s) with parental responsibility for the child
  • A person named in an existing child arrangements order who has parental responsibility for the child.
  • A local authority foster parent who has had the child living with them for one year immediately before the application is made.
  • A child’s relative who has had the child living with them for one year immediately before the application is made.

Anyone wishing to apply for a child arrangement order who does not fall into any of the categories above can apply to the court.

When do Child Arrangement Orders come to an end?

  • Usually, a child arrangement order is in place until the child is 16, or 18 in exceptional circumstances.

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What is a Prohibited Steps Order?

A prohibited steps order is made by the court and outlines what a person with parental responsibility for the child cannot do.  The court has the power to make a prohibited steps order to stop a decision, without the court’s permission.  Examples of prohibited steps could include: 

  • Changing the child's school.
  • Changing the child's name.
  • Relocating the child to another part of the country or abroad.
  • Deciding the child's religious instruction.
  • Choosing a particular course of medical treatment.

The court's willingness to make a prohibited steps order will depend on the circumstances presented and what the court considers to be in the child's best interests.

What is a Specific Issue Order?

A specific issue order allows the court to decide a specific question concerning the child's welfare where those with parental responsibility cannot agree. Examples of specific issues that could be in dispute include:

  • Education - which school a child will attend
  • Religion - how much the child can be involved in practices of one parent's religion, that the other parent does not consider to be in the child's best interest. For example, a parent who is a Jehovah's Witness, withholding their consent to the child receiving a blood transfusion
  • Medical treatment - whether the child is to receive a particular type of treatment in preference to another.
  • Relocation - where one parent wants to relocate with the child to another part of the country or abroad, permanently or temporarily, against the other parent's wishes.

The court can give directions and impose conditions in prohibited steps orders and specific issues orders, directed towards any person:

  • Who is named in the order as a person with whom the child is to live, spend time or otherwise have contact
  • Who is a parent of the child
  • Who has parental responsibility for the child
  • With whom the child is living.

What our clients say about us

"Thank you so much we really appreciate everything you have done for us; you have been fantastic and I will recommend to friends."

“I would love to say a big thank you to Angela Lally and Jill Rucklidge for outstanding work. And always there when I needed them through my divorce, I would highly recommend them both.”

"Thank you for all of your support and advice recently, it means a lot."

"Jill gave me great advice throughout the divorce process. her straight-talking but warm style gave me confidence from an early stage. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend Jill to anyone in the same situation."

“I am dyslexic so extra time was taken to explain the process. You were very patient. I don’t feel that you could improve your service 100% professional and reliable.”

"Alison provided a fantastic friendly service. She made me feel at ease and really took time to understand what I needed. She kept me in the loop every step of the way and always responded efficiently and very friendly. I would definitely recommend to friends and family."

"Your letter did the trick, the path has been fixed! Thank you so much."

"It has been a pleasure working with you, thanks for making it all so smooth and straight forward."

"Lorna, thanks very much for your help and guidance throughout this process, I'm relieved that the end is in sight."

"Fantastic service from a professional and friendly team. Made everything so easy and straight forward."