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Arrangements for Children
Children and Separation
If you have children and your relationship breaks down, one of your priorities will be to protect them and to ensure their physical and emotional wellbeing comes first
During this difficult process, it may be the case that and your partner may not be able to agree on the arrangements for the children and issues may arise over which parent a child should live with and the frequency of contact with the other parent.
At Premier Solicitors, we have a highly experienced, dedicated and committed team who can assist, to ensure you understand your legal rights, responsibilities and the options available to you to such as Mediation, Negotiation, Collaborative Law or issuing Court Proceedings.
From 22 April 2014, Contact and Residence Orders are no longer available and have been replaced with Child Arrangements Orders. This is essentially an Order which regulates whom a child lives with and has contact with.
As a parent you can also make an application to the court for the following orders, depending on your circumstances, namely :
Specific issue Orders – Where a court decides on a specific issue in relation to the child- for example which school a child should attend.
Prohibited Steps Orders- where a court decides whether a parent should be prohibited from taking a particular course of action in relation to the child, for example prohibiting a parent from removing the child from the jurisdiction.
We offer fixed fee interviews and fixed fee children packages which includes representation up to the first hearing. We will also consider with you a “pay as you go” package as well as our traditional hourly rates service since we understand that a “fixed fee” may not be suitable for all clients, since everyone’s needs and circumstances are different.
Leave to remove - International Relocation
One of the most difficult situations a parent may have to deal with is, when one parent wishes to relocate with the children and live in another country. The parent wishing to relocate cannot do so without the consent of all the individuals who hold parent responsibility for the child or without the court’s permission.
Again at Premier Solicitors, we have a family team, with considerable experience in leave to remove cases, please contact us for further advice.
Grandparents (and other relatives have to seek the court’s permission in the first instance to enable them to proceed with their application under the Children Act 1989.
However permission will usually be granted since the court recognises that it is in the child’s best interest to maintain a relationship with extended members of the family whom the child has formed a close bond with.
If you are a grandparent and want further advice in this area and of your options please do not hesitate to contact us.
A step-parent is a person who is either married to or is the civil partner of a child’s parent. Circumstances may arise where the natural parent of the child may want to give a step-parent a legal status, for example where a child’s natural parents have died and the step parent is left looking after the child. In these situations, although adoption may be a solution, the process in itself can be complicated and it may be suitable to consider other alternatives such as Child Arrangements Orders to give the step-parent, parental responsibility for the child.
For further information on this area, please contact us. .
Child maintenance is about providing help with a child's everyday living costs. This includes things like food and clothes, and helping to provide a home for your children. Payment is made by the non resident parent to the parent, carer or guardian with whom the children live (known as the primary carer).
There are three ways in which parents can arrange to receive or indeed make child maintenance payments:
- Using a private agreement;
- Through the CSA (Child Support Agency);
- By Court Order.
Where divorced or separated parents have a good relationship and are in a position to make their own arrangements, child maintenance can be dealt with by way of a private agreement.
If you cannot reach a private agreement or the agreement is not working and both parents live in the UK, you can apply to the CSA to make an assessment. The CSA will work out how much should be paid, and they can also collect the payments for you. The greater the overnight stays a child has with the non resident parent, the lower the maintenance required.
In certain circumstances, the Court may be able to make orders for child maintenance for example where the non resident parent has a significant annual income, or lives abroad or your child has a disability. What you can expect will depend upon the particular facts including the child's needs, your respective resources and expenditure. We can advise you if this is appropriate or necessary in your circumstances.
Our solicitors are up to date with developments about child maintenance. Call us today on 01234 358080 to speak to a solicitor about your options and how we can help.
Financial Provision for Children under Schedule 1 Children Act 1989
Schedule 1 of the Children Act 1989 enables an unmarried parent, guardian, special guardian or a person in whose favour a Residence Order has been made to apply to the Court for financial provision for a child.
It is primarily used to ensure adequate provision of a home for a child and/or to obtain an award of periodical payments in cases where the non resident parent has an income which exceeds the Child Support Agency's maximum.
The Court can make a range of orders, which include the following:
- Child maintenance (in addition to the maximum maintenance as assessed currently by the Child Support Agency), which can include the cost of a nanny, school fees and, in some cases, the costs of university education; and
- A capital lump sum for costs directly referable to the child (for example, the purchase of a car or the costs of equipping the child's home); and
- A transfer or settlement of property for the purpose of providing a home for the child during their minority (which will mean that once the child completes their secondary or tertiary education, the property which was transferred or settled will be returned to the parent who funded or provided it).
Schedule 1 provides important financial remedies for the parents of dependent children.
Call us now on 01234 358080 and speak to a solicitor about your options to help you determine the right course of action.
What is Parental Responsibility and who has it?
This is defined as all the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities, and authority which by law a parent has in relation to a child. Every natural mother has Parental Responsibility (PR) and if the parties were married at the time of the child's birth then the father will automatically have PR as well. From 1st December 2003 unmarried fathers have PR provided his name is on the birth certificate. Alternatively, an unmarried father can acquire PR by entering into a PR agreement with the mother, subsequently marrying the mother or by making an application to the Court. Other individuals, such as step-parents, can also acquire PR either by agreement of by obtaining a Court order.
How long does a Residence Order last for?
A Residence Order can last until a child is 18.
Can the Court make a shared Residence Order?
Yes, a Shared Residence Order can be made in favour of two (or more) people. Such an order will usually specify the amount of time that the child with live with each person named in the order. Anyone who is named in a Residence Order will also have parental responsibility for the child.
My ex-partner is putting too many restrictions on my contact with my son, shall I accept it?
No, there should be reasonable contact between yourself and your child and the Court will always be looking at what is in the best interest of the child. If no agreement can be reached, then you can apply to the Court for an Order.
Call us now on 01234 358080 to speak to a solicitor about your options and where you stand.
What is CAFCASS?
CAFCASS (Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service) is independent of the Courts, social services, education and health authorities.
The role of CAFCASS is to give advice to the family courts as to what might be in the best interest of the children and also may in some cases provide representation for children in family cases.
My child is living with their mother, will I have to pay child maintenance?
If you are not living with your child and you are earning an income then you will have to pay child maintenance. We can advise you on what maintenance you may be entitled to and how to resolve any disputes.
Can my partner take my child abroad without my permission?
If you're concerned that your child may be permanently removed from the country without your consent, you should contact us immediately on 01234 358080 to speak to a solicitor. We can apply to the Court for an emergency order stating that your child cannot be taken out of the UK and can also request that your child's passport is surrendered.
Do I have to attend mediation before issuing Court Proceedings?
The government is trying to reduce the number of cases that go to Court and encouraging people to try to reach agreements over children issues wherever possible. Before making an application to Court, you will be required first to see a mediator for a 'Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting' (MIAM). The mediator will consider with you whether mediation with the other party should be attempted before Court proceedings are started. We can advise you whether you are required to attend a 'MIAM' and help make a referral to a mediation service.
Call us today on 01234 35 80 80 to speak to a member of our qualified team.
Arrange to meet one of our Family Law Solicitors at our office in Bedford.
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