Family law requires a specific set of skills and an ability to deal with difficult situations with tact, compassion and understanding. Our legal team has experience working with families to resolve a range of issues, always keeping the needs and interests of any children at the heart of all that we do. Whether you need to discuss private family matters, make arrangements following a breakdown in a relationship or are looking to emigrate, we can help. Our team have experience and expertise in the following:
Children - Private Matters
Private family matters that need to be settled by the courts or mediation are those that do not involve social services or any other outside agency. We understand that when family members disagree over what is best for a child, the proceedings and the outcome can affect the whole family. Regardless of the private matter, we can support you, providing the best possible advice and guidance and ensuring the best outcome for everyone, especially the child.
It can be very challenging when marriages or civil partnerships breakdown. One of the main flashpoints often involves child arrangements. Choosing where your child should live is not easy, and while in many cases it can be decided amicably, there are times when recourse to the law is needed. When this happens, we can provide mediation services, representation during mediation, or court representation if it becomes necessary. We will always act in the child's best interest and provide complete and transparent advice and guidance.
Prohibited Steps Orders
If you are concerned that your child's other parent may make decisions that will endanger their welfare or that they may try to take them out of the area without your consent, you can apply for a Prohibited Steps Order. We can take you through the process and determine whether you have grounds for the order to be granted. Similarly, if you have been presented with such an order, we can support you and determine whether there are grounds for the order.
Specific Issues Orders
If there is a specific issue, a parent or the local authority can apply for a Specific Issues Order to determine the outcome of that particular concern only. Examples of where Specific Issues Orders may be appropriate include changing the child's name, medical treatment, and schooling. It is always in the child's interests to come to an amicable agreement, but where this is not possible, the Order is used to determine what is best for the child. We can be there to support and guide you through the process.
Leave to remove/relocate
If you wish to move outside the UK, you may need the other parent's permission to do so. When this is not forthcoming, the parent wishing to move can apply for a 'leave to remove' order from the courts. If you are the parent wishing to relocate, we can advise how best to go about this process. We can also support you if you are the parent that finds themselves facing such a court order. We aim to always keep the child's best interests at the heart of any advice or guidance we offer.
When one parent manipulates a child's feelings against the other parent, it can have long-term damaging effects on the child, the other parent, and their relationship. It can be challenging to prove psychological manipulation, but it is considered abusive in extreme cases and referred to the criminal courts. If you have been the victim of such manipulation, we can help you build a case and take the first steps to repair your relationship with your child.
It is essential to know your rights and responsibilities when it comes to parental responsibility. When one parent is denied their parental responsibility, or there is disagreement between the parties as to what is best for the child, things can escalate quickly. We are here to provide guidance, advice and mediation services to find a solution that works for all parties without recourse to the courts. Where a severe breach of parental responsibility has occurred, we can provide representation through the court processes.
When a local authority believes a child is at risk, they may begin care proceedings to remove the child from its current home. If you are subject to such proceedings, our expert legal team can provide support and advice right through to representing you during any court appearances. We will always act in the child's best interests and work to find a solution for the whole family.
Contact with Children in Care
Contact with children in care is an often-misunderstood area of the law. Except for some urgent situations or court orders, contact between children in care and their family is encouraged. If you are stopped from seeing your child without reasonable cause or want to question why the contact is stopped, we can help. We will ask the right questions on your behalf and support you in getting the access that you are legally allowed. As with all areas concerning children and their welfare, we put the child's needs first and work with tact, diplomacy and understanding.
If you are subject to a Placement Order for your children, you can approach the family court for the order to be revoked. You need to make the application before the child is placed with the intended adoptive parents, so time is of the essence. You will usually need to demonstrate that there have been extensive changes to your circumstances and that the child will be safe to remain in your care. We can help. Our legal team can provide expert advice and guidance and take you through the court process.
Public Law Outline (PLO)
If your local authority deems it necessary to request a care or supervision order, there is a specific process that they must follow. The Public Law Outline ensures that the local authority upholds and follows the rules and keeps the child's interests at the heart of the process. If you do not believe your local authority has followed the PLO, we can take up your case and ask the right questions of those involved.