The Courts and the Children Act encourages that matters regarding children should be resolved amicably however, this is not always possible. The only resort is to then make an application to the court. When making any application to the court concerning children the court considers the welfare checklist that This is called includes the following:
- The wishes and feelings of the child, in light of the child’s age and understanding.
- The likely effect on the child of any change in their circumstances.
- The child’s age, sex, background and any characteristics the court considers relevant.
- Any harm the child has suffered or is at risk of suffering.
- How capable each of the child’s parent’s (and any other relevant person in relation to whom the court considers the question to be relevant) is of meeting the child’s needs.
- The range of powers available to the court.
Our family team can assist you in this by making any relevant application, these can include:
- Residence orders - This type of order settles who a child is to live with if there is a dispute. It is possible to obtain a joint residence order, but these are not common where the child will have to divide their time between two homes.
- Contact orders - This type of order sets out how the parent who does not live with the children is able to see the child. It can set out the terms of the contact, the duration and frequency, who is to collect and return the children, and settle any conditions which are in dispute.
- Prohibited steps orders - This is an order which prohibits a specified action by one parent. For example, it is used when one parent is proposing to take the children somewhere and the other parent does not agree.
- Specific issue orders - This type of order can be made to the court to deal with any given specific issue where the parents do not agree which can relate to set the child’s upbringing or welfare. These include religious issues, schooling matters, or whether to change their surname amongst others.
- Permanent Removal to Another Country - If one parent who has parental responsibility, wants to move abroad permanently then permission is required of the other parent who also has parental responsibility before a child can be removed from the country (unless a Residence Order is in force which automatically allows the parent with whom the child lives to go out of the country for up to one month).
- Parental Responsibility order - Sometimes a biological parent who is not married and not living with the children may have the right to make important decisions regarding the child. A step parent can also have parental responsibility and more than two people can have parental responsibility for the same child. A court order may not be required if both parents agree with each other. Instead our team can prepare a Parental Responsibility Agreement.