Children Law

 

AGR Law - Children Law in Leicester

At AGR Law, we have the expertise to represent clients in all matters relating to private law children cases. We also assist clients in some public law children matters where legal aid does not apply or where legal aid applies but one does not meet the means assessments.

Public Law Children Matters

  •   Applications to vary orders where the Children Services have been involved or there is an existing care order and one does not meet the means assessment for legal aid
  •   Adoption Law
  •   Applications for contact with a child who is in care
  •   Applications to discharge or vary a Care Order, Child Arrangement Order, Specific Issue Order, Supervision Order and Prohibited Steps Order

We will listen to you.

Our team of solicitors who have a wealth of experience in dealing with children disputes will be able to advise you on the best approach to take in pursuing any children dispute. Having listened to your issues, we will advise you from the outset what to expect from the beginning to the conclusion of your case and the issues you might encounter in the course of your case and how to address them. We will work with you and you will be updated regularly on the progress and any issues that might arise in the course of running your case.

As members of Resolution and as required by the protocol, we will at first instance try and negotiate or use mediation before making an application to court. If an agreement cannot be reached or if your matter is not suitable for mediation, perhaps due to urgency of the matter or domestic abuse, we will act swiftly to commence court proceedings and guide you through the whole process. We will fight your corner throughout the process

AGR Law - Children Law in Leicester

CHILD ARRANGEMENTS

Are you having difficulty in agreeing child arrangements?  On separation, many parents find it difficult to move past their broken relationship and come to agreements about how each party should have contact with the children and sometimes, where the children should live.

At AGR Law, our solicitors have a breadth of experience in assisting parents in these situations.  We understand there are tensions and adopt a facilitative approach to help you to come to agreements without litigation. However, we recognise there are times when you will have no choice but to go to court to maintain the bonds you have with your children.  We are strong and tenacious in fighting for our clients and getting the best outcome for the children and our clients.

We advise and represent clients in issues such as:-

  •   Child Arrangements, previously referred to as Residence and Contact Orders
  •   Applications for specific issues relating to Parental Responsibility such as permission to relocate, change of name, change of school and so on
  •   Grandparents’ rights to have contact with their grandchildren
  •   Children disputes with an international element
  •   Special guardianship orders
  •   Applications relating to disclosure of a child’s whereabouts

Our family solicitors, Gina Samuel-Richards and Ruth Goward have a combined experience of over 20 years in dealing with children disputes. They will listen to you and manage your expectations from the outset. Contact us for a consultation.

PROHIBITED STEPS ORDERS

Is your ex-partner threatening to or do you have reasons to believe they might remove your children from your care to another country or another town within the UK?

Is your ex-partner planning to change your child’s name, their school or subject your child to other acts you are not agreeable to?

A parent or another person with parental responsibility for the child or with permission from the court can apply for a Prohibited Steps Order, which falls within Section 8 of the Children Act 1989. A Prohibited Steps Order is an order of the court prohibiting a person from undertaking a certain act concerning the subject child such as relocation. An emergency application can be made to the court without notice to your ex-partner and we can advise you the circumstances in which you can make an application without notice.

If you are the parent seeking to remove a child from the other parent to abroad or another town within the UK, or wishing to undertake a certain act without involving the other parent such as changing a child’s name or school, please read Specific Issue Orders.

For further advice, contact us for a consultation…

SPECIFIC ISSUE ORDERS

If the other parent to your child has parental responsibility, you are legally obliged to keep them updated on important aspects of the child’s upbringing for example, their schooling, health and other important matters affecting the child.

It is common for separated parents to disagree or for one parent to unreasonably refuse a request to undertake certain action relating to a child; for example, you might want to take the child on holiday abroad, change the child’s name or school or where a child requires certain medical procedure. You would be required to seek permission from the other parent and if that permission is withheld, you would need to make an application to court for determination of the specific issue. The court would refer to the relevant welfare checklist in deciding whether your request should be granted.

Our team will advise you on merits of making an application to court and other practical steps in managing your situation. For further advice, contact us for a consultation…

CHANGE OF NAME

When changing a child’s name, similar considerations are given as the Specific Issues Order.  If you would like to change your child’s name speak to us for further advice

PARENTAL RESPONSIBILITY

Parental Responsibility is the legal right a parent may have to make decisions about their child’s welfare.  This may include (naming a few):

  • Which school your child attends
  • Consent to medical treatment
  • Changing your child’s name, and
  • Travelling abroad

Birth mothers automatically have parental responsibility over their children.  However, there is a misconception that all fathers also automatically have parental responsibility.  This is not necessarily the case and a father can only acquire parental responsibility in one of the following ways:

  • If he is married to the birth mother at the time of the birth or after the birth of the child
  • If the child is born after 1st December 2003 to unmarried parents, the birth mother and father jointly register the birth of the child
  • By a biological father entering into a parental responsibility agreement with the birth mother, or
  • By court order

Other people who are not the parents of the child can be granted parental responsibility of your child by the court. Change in law also means step-parents can acquire parental responsibility by entering into a parental responsibility agreement with the child’s biological parent (their partner). However, this agreement can only be achieved with the consent of the other biological parent who has parental responsibility, otherwise, the step-parent who wishes to acquire parental responsibility for their partner’s child would be required to make an application to court for it to determine whether the step-parent should acquire parental responsibility.

If you have a question about parental responsibility, contact us for assistance.

SPECIAL GUARDIANSHIP

A Special Guardianship Order is a private law order made under the Children Act 1989, where the child is intended to benefit from long-term secure placement. The holder of this order, that is, the Special Guardian, is granted parental responsibility over a child until the child reaches the age of 18. A parent of the child may not be appointed as a Special Guardian for their child, which is a more secure order than a residence order. In fact, a Special Guardianship Order confers parental responsibility exercisable to the exclusion of all others including the birth parents. For example, the order allows the Special Guardian to remove the child from the UK for up to 3 months without permission of the birth parents. However, a Special Guardianship Order must be distinguished from an Adoption Order. The latter extinguishes a child’s ties with the birth parents as opposed to the Special Guardianship, where a child can maintain contact with the birth parents.

Is a Special Guardianship Order the right order for you?

 

  • Are you a Local Authority’s foster carer and the child has resided with you for at least 1 year?
  • Do you have permission from the parents or everyone who has parental responsibility to apply for an order in relation to their child?
  • Are you a relative of a child who has resided with you for at least 1 year?
  • Do you have consent of the Local Authority to apply for a Special Guardianship Order in relation to a child in care?

The above is not an exhaustive list of those who can apply for Special Guardianship; Contact us if you have reason to believe this might be the relevant application for you or would like to find out more about Special Guardianship and if you are eligible to apply to the court for an order. Please note some Local Authorities who support your application for a Special Guardianship Order can assist you with legal fees to obtain advice from a solicitor and commence court proceedings.

ADOPTION

A person can also make an application for an Adoption Order as long as the relevant criteria are met. For example, the child to be adopted must be under 18 years old and not married or in a civil partnership, the adoptive parent must be at least 21 years old, can be married, single, in cohabitation or in civil partnership or indeed a partner of a child’s parent. Both parents must consent unless they cannot be found, are incapable of giving consent or the child will be put at risk if consent is obtained.

The court can authorise a Local Authority to place a child for adoption where the court is satisfied conditions of a Care Order are met and a Care Order is made. Although a child cuts ties with the birth parents following an Adoption Order, in certain circumstances, the court may order a contact order between the child and the birth parents.

Of course, different rules are applicable for private adoptions and adoptions for looked after children [those children within the care system]. Speak to our experts who will be in a position to assess your case based on your circumstances and advise you on the merits of your proposed application.

CHILD MAINTENANCE

These issues are usually determined by the Child Maintenance Services; formerly, known as the Child Support Agency.  However, there are circumstances where the court can deal with child maintenance under Schedule 1 of the Children Act.  For example:

  • The court has power to make lump sum, property transfer and settlement of property orders
  • Where unmarried parents are seeking to gain financial provision for their child where capital contributions can be determined
  • Where the Child Maintenance Service has assessed, the gross income exceeds £3,000 per week and the parent with care of the child is seeking a top-up
  • For periodical payments for children over the age of 18 in full time education or under special circumstances
  • Where the non-resident parent is overseas

If you feel you would benefit from an application to court for child maintenance, contact us for further information

CHILD CARE PROCEEDINGS

A child can be made subject to a Care or Supervision Order on application by a Local Authority or an authorised person. These applications are covered within Section 31 of the Children Act 1989. The court may only make an order if it is satisfied the child concerned is likely to suffer significant harm because of the care provided to the child, if a care order was not made or if a child is beyond parental control.

On application, the court will normally make an interim care order while assessments are in progress.

A Care Order allows the Local Authority to remove the child from the carers and to share Parental Responsibility with the parents. The Local Authority ensures that a child maintains contact with his/her family as long as it is safe to do so.

The court may decide that the threshold to make a Care Order is not met but the child requires support and supervision from the Local Authority over a certain period of time. A Supervision Order can be made where the Local Authority appoints a Supervisor to befriend the child and carry out the requirements of the Supervision Order. The Supervisor can make an application to discharge the order before it expires if they believe this is no longer necessary.

Where the Local Authority has commenced care proceedings, parents and those with parental responsibility for the child will be automatically eligible for legal aid or public funding to defend the case.  Public funding may be available to other family members or interested parties subject to both means and merits assessment.

There are other applications within Special Children Act proceedings when assessments for funding for any interested party including the parents have to be determined. At AGR Law, we have expertise to represent you in the following circumstances

  • Applications to vary orders where the Children Services have been involved or there is an existing care order and one does not meet the means assessment for legal aid
  • Adoption Law [private adoption as opposed to Placement Orders]
  • Applications for contact with a child who is in care
  • Applications to discharge or vary a Care Order, Child Arrangement Order, Specific Issue Order, Supervision Order and Prohibited Steps Order

The list above is not exhaustive; contact us at AGR Law if you would like to find out more about applications relating to a child in care or if your case falls within the above category.

http://agrlaw.co.uk AGR Law - family and immigration solicitor in Leicester

 

http://agrlaw.co.uk AGR Law - family and immigration solicitor in Leicester

 

http://agrlaw.co.uk AGR Law - family and immigration solicitor in Leicester

 

http://agrlaw.co.uk AGR Law - family and immigration solicitor in Leicester

 

http://agrlaw.co.uk AGR Law - family and immigration solicitor in Leicester

 

http://agrlaw.co.uk AGR Law - family and immigration solicitor in Leicester

 

http://agrlaw.co.uk AGR Law - family and immigration solicitor in Leicester

 

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