Children Law

Private law children disputes

It is sometimes the case that parties cannot agree the arrangements for the children of their family when a relationship breaks down. Our family law team specialises in all areas of law relating to children this can include child arrangements orders with regard to where children live and who they spend time with, prohibited steps orders, specific issues orders, parental responsibility orders and financial provision for children.

Special guardianship

If you are the primary carer of a child who is not your own child or who is looked after by the local authority, you could apply for a special guardianship order to grant you all the rights, duties and responsibilities that a parent would have for the child. The child’s birth parent would retain parental responsibility but the special guardian would have the priority decision making ability for the child.

Situations where the authorities have concerns about the care of your child:-

Pre-proceedings meetings

Such meetings are arranged with the local authority where they are concerned for the welfare of your child and are considering, or about to apply, to the family court. It is often possible to reach an agreement with the local authority at such meetings so that court proceedings can be avoided. We can accompany you at such meetings and advise you in relation to any agreement you are asked to sign by the local authority in terms of the expectations for the ongoing care of your child/children.

Care proceedings

If the local authority continues to have concerns about the safety or well being of your child/children following the pre-proceedings meeting, they can apply to the court to take the child into care. We can guide, advise and represent you throughout this difficult process. We will support you and represent your interests throughout the proceedings.
Contact with a child/children in care. We can advise you whether the current arrangements for your contact are adequate and, where appropriate, make an application to court on your behalf to have the arrangements reviewed and adjusted.

Discharging care orders

We can advise and assist you in relation to the options for applying to the court for the discharge of a care order if you believe that your circumstances have changed and you wish to have your child/children returned to your care, and the prospects of succeeding with such an application.