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It is always preferable for parents to agree arrangements for their children between them. Sometimes this is not always straight forward and the assistance of an experienced family solicitor can be invaluable. Your solicitor will be able to assist you whether you simply require some initial advice to discuss your concerns and how they might be best addressed, or where the urgent intervention of the court may be required.
At JWP Solicitors we regularly deal with disputes concerning:
At JWP solicitors we always have a transparent approach to our fees. Our solicitors will at the outset of your case set out clearly the likely costs. In most cases we can deal with disputes concerning children for a fixed price. If your case is complex or if you prefer we can deal with your case using our hourly charging rate. We will also assess you for eligibility for legal aid, which is still available for family cases in certain circumstances.
You can contact us at any time free of charge during the course of, or at the conclusion of your case, with any queries in relation to costs or any other area of client care.
Your solicitor will discuss with you at the outset an appropriate plan for payment of your legal costs.
We now offer comprehensive fixed price packages for most family matters, which include representation at court. To request a comprehensive fixed price brochure please contact us on 01924 387 171
Everyone with Parental Responsibility for a child has legal authority to make decisions about important elements of that child’s life. This would include matters such as where the child(ren) will go to school, authorisation of medical treatment, their religious upbringing and any change of the child(ren)’s name.
All mothers automatically have Parental Responsibility. A father that is married to the mother automatically acquires Parental Responsibility. If the mother and father are not married then if the father’s name is on the child(ren)’s birth certificate(s) and the child(ren)’s birth(s) was registered after the 1st December 2003 then he will automatically acquire Parental Responsibility with the mother.
If the parents are not married and the child(ren)’s birth(s) was registered before the 1st December 2003 or the father is not named on the child(ren)’s birth certificate(s) then the father will not automatically acquire Parental Responsibility. The father can acquire it, however, by entering into a Parental Responsibility Agreement with the mother or by obtaining a Parental Responsibility Order from the court.
The courts would prefer not to make any Orders at all concerning your child. If following a separation there is no dispute between you and the other parent with regard to where the child(ren) will live, and what the contact arrangements for the other parent having contact with the child(ren) will be then you will not require a Court Order.
On the whole courts promote contact and it would be generally expected that contact with the non-resident parent would take place on a regular basis. If however, there are genuine reasons as to why contact with a non-resident parent may not be in the child’s best interests, then it may well be appropriate for contact to be put on hold until the court has had the opportunity to consider the concerns.
The court’s duty is to the child(ren) and therefore they will generally not order contact immediately if there is a legitimate concern that a child may be put at risk. The court would investigate the concern and assess the risk, if any, to the child. In these circumstances indirect contact by way of telephone calls and letters or supervised contact may still be considered appropriate.
If you have Parental Responsibility for your child(ren) then the other parent will need your consent in order to take the child(ren) abroad for a period of more than one month. If all persons with Parental Responsibility have not given their consent then the parent who takes the child(ren) abroad may in fact be committing a criminal offence.
If you have reason to believe that your child(ren) may be taken out of the country without your consent then you should take urgent legal advice. An application can be made to the court to prevent the child(ren)’s removal from the country.
If a parent with care wishes to move abroad with the child(ren) and all other persons with Parental Responsibility do not consent to this then the parent wishing to move abroad with the child(ren) would have to make an application to the court for an Order giving them permission to do so. If the matter cannot be resolved by agreement then ultimately the court will make a decision based upon what is in the child(ren)’s best interests.
If arrangements for contact with your child(ren) cannot be agreed then you can make an application to the court for a Defined Contact Order, setting out clearly the days and times that you will have contact with your child(ren).
If you make an application to the court for a Defined Contact Order then generally the court will promote contact and consider contact with both parents to be in the child(ren)’s best interests. There would have to be a compelling reason for a court to conclude that your exercising contact with your child(ren) is not in the child(ren)’s best interests.
JWP Solicitors Director
Direct Dial 01924 387 171
Direct Dial 01977 790 029