Agreeing what’s right for your children
When parents separate it can be difficult to agree:
- Which parent the children should live with
- What level and type of contact and access the children have with the parent they don’t normally live with
- Other issues such as changing the child’s name, ongoing medical treatment and issues concerning their religious upbringing
If you are having problems deciding who your children should live with, having contact with them, with allowing the other parent to see them or agreeing any specific issues regarding contact and residence you need to understand the options available to you.
Read more about parental responsibility.
How can we help you work things out?
It’s beneficial to both parents and children alike if you and your ex-partner can co-operate on arrangements for the children. It is important to ensure that the children are not involved in conflict or arguments and that their needs are put first.
Making arrangements for children can be very emotive and you may not be able to discuss matters constructively. We can negotiate on your behalf and find a sensible way forward that puts the children’s needs first to avoid the potential stress, costs and delay of court proceedings.
We may be able to help you through our fixed fee children negotiations service or by referring you for mediation. However if you feel you have exhausted all attempts to agree on arrangements for your children then you may need to make an application to the court which we can help you with.
What is a residence order?
A residence order sets out the arrangements for where a child lives. A residence order can be made for one or more than one person and for both parents and non-parents.
What is a contact order?
A contact order sets out the arrangements for a child to visit or stay with a person they don’t live with. This is often the ‘non resident’ parent. When dealing with a contact application, the court will take the stance that it will be best for the child to know both parents, unless there is a very good reason for them not to.
Other orders relating to Children
What is a specific issue order?
A specific issue order can be applied for to ask the court to resolve a disagreement about any matter related to parental responsibility. For example:
- Which school the child should attend
- Whether the child should receive medical treatment
- How religion should be included in the child’s upbringing
- Whether the parent with care can take the child to live abroad
If you want to take a child that lives with you abroad this is a complex matter with extra factors that the court must consider. It could be a criminal offence to take a child out of the country without the right consent/court order so it’s important to take legal advice if you’re considering this.
What is a prohibited steps order?
A prohibited steps order can ask the court to prevent one parent taking a particular action related to parental responsibility. For example:
- Preventing the child associating with someone who has an adverse influence
- Preventing medical treatment
- Preventing the child being permanently removed from the country
Making a Will
You can make provisions for your children in the future by making a Will. Or if you already have a Will you may need to alter it to reflect your changing personal circumstances. To find out more, see our section on Making a Will.
To find out more about court orders involving children please contact us.