Children

We have acted as children’s solicitors for many families across Staffordshire and the surrounding area.  As resolution lawyers, we place the needs of your children above everything.

We understand that your children mean the world to you. As separated parents, no matter how you feel about each other, you need to put your differences to one side and deal with the issues of importance to your children. This is not always easy, often mediation and negotiation can assist.

If this is unsuccessful there are measures that parents can take by applying to the court for the children issues to be addressed. Children often blame themselves for their parents’ separation and may experience problems at school or with their peers.

The court has a checklist which it follows in respect of the issues relating to children and it is vitally important to understand this. The checklist provides for measures that include the following:

  • The physical and emotional needs of the children.
  • The likely effect of any change upon the children.
  • Age of the children.
  • Gender of the children.
  • Background and other relevant factors.

Where parents cannot agree upon the arrangements, the court will use the above checklist in making decisions, such as where the children live and how the children will see the parent they don’t live with. If there are issues in respect of safety of children YOU SHOULD SEEK IMMEDIATE ADVICE. In an emergency situation we suggest you contact your local authority Children Safeguarding department and seek specialist legal advice from your solicitor.

It is always better if parents can agree upon arrangements for the care of their children, however in the unfortunate circumstance that an agreement cannot be reached, then the court has the power to make the following orders in respect of issues relating to children:

  • Child Arrangements Order – where and with whom the children should live and how and when the children will see the other parent.
  • Specific Issue – this can, for example, be an issue in respect of holidays abroad and by what surname the child is to be known.
  • Parental Responsibility – this is an automatic right in law for many parents, but in some circumstances the court may have to determine this. If you are married you both have equal rights in these issues.
  • Prohibited steps – The court can use its powers to prevent certain circumstances if there is a reason for such prevention.
  • Child maintenance – Currently this is governed by the Child Support Agency, they deal with assessments on financial provision for children from income. This is due to change in September 2017 with a new regime. Separated parents must provide financial support for their children based on a strict financial calculation, which works on a percentage (depending on how many children there are in the family) of net income, deducting any pension premium from the non-resident parent, less any nights they stay over with the non-resident parent.

In all circumstances if parents can agree the arrangements for their children safely and fairly, the court will not become involved in those arrangements. Taking specialist advice at the right time can assist in these areas.

To arrange a free, confidential discussion with our Stafford-based family law team, please email mike.vale@orj.co.uk, or alternatively you can call us on: 01785 223440.