When parents separate it can be difficult to make decisions about which parent the child should live with and how much time should be spent with the parent they do not live with.
Working with us, you can have absolute confidence that you will have an expert team dedicated to achieving the very best outcome for you and your family:
- Our first meeting is free, no matter how long it takes to make sure we completely understand your circumstances and what you want to achieve.
- Everything we talk about throughout the time we spend working together will always be totally confidential.
- Our teams are top ranked by the legal directories, so you can be sure that you are being guided by specialist experts in all areas of family law and children disputes.
- Our partners and lawyers have decades of experience, an excellent reputation and over the years have built up strong relationships with other lawyers, Judges and professional bodies.
- We have teams in Beverley, Lincoln and York, and work with clients across East and North Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and the East Midlands.
The Government and the Courts strongly encourage parents to agree these arrangements between themselves wherever possible. It is generally better for children if their parents can reach their own agreements rather than having to go through court proceedings, which can be stressful, costly and time consuming.
However, for many reasons, it is not always possible for separated parents to decide what the arrangements should be for their children. If communications break down, or arrangements cannot be agreed it is important to take specialist advice at the earliest opportunity to try and avoid conflict and resolve the issues as swiftly as possible.
There so many diverse families and the advice we provide, based on our extensive experience, will be specific to your family arrangements and with the child’s best interests being paramount.
What we do and where we specialise
There is nothing more important than deciding where your child should live and how much time they should spend with each parent. Our expert child law team is extremely experienced in working with parents to achieve the best outcome.
We have specialist child lawyers advising parents on private law children issues and public law proceedings including applications for care and supervision orders issued by the Local Authority and child protection issues.
Issues we are regularly helping parents resolve include:
- Should the child live with you or your former partner?
- Should there be a shared care arrangement, and if so, how will the arrangements work?
- What should the arrangements be for the child to spend time with the parent they don’t live with?
- What should the arrangements be for special occasions like birthdays and Christmas?
- What should the arrangements be for school holidays and going abroad?
- What will happen if one parent wishes to relocate either in the UK or abroad?
- What happens if one parent wants to make important decisions such as a change of school?
Going to Court
Sometimes it is necessary to take the matter to court to obtain an order setting out arrangements for the children. In April 2014, the Government brought in a new term for orders which set out where a child should live and who they should spend time with. Previously known as ‘Residence’ and ‘Contact’, they are now called Child Arrangements Orders
There are other types of orders the Court can make including; Parental Responsibility Order, Prohibited Steps Order and Specific Issue Orders which require specialist advice as to the circumstances in which these types of orders are required, and whether an order is required on an emergency basis to protect a child’s safety or wellbeing.
We also provide specialist advice to parents who are either wishing to relocate with their children in the UK or abroad, or the parent who wishes to oppose the relocation.
If you choose to have a child through a surrogacy arrangement, you will need to apply for a Parental Order to secure your legal parentage for the child.
We have the knowledge and expertise to guide you through the process, from making an initial application, dealing with the interim practicalities, providing advice on the factors the Court will take into account in making its decision and through to the final stages of securing the Parental Order.
Under the current law, the surrogate will be the child’s legal mother and have parental responsibility. Depending on the surrogate’s personal circumstances, her husband may also be the child’s legal father and have parental responsibility. By securing a Parental Order, the legal parenthood for the child is transferred to the “intended” parents who have commissioned the surrogacy arrangement, meaning they will be legally recognised as the child’s parents. The child will also be issued with a new birth certificate recording you as their legal parent(s).
Legal Aid is no longer available for most private disputes relating to children. However, in certain circumstances where there is evidence of domestic abuse or child abuse it may still be possible to for the Legal Aid Agency to help with your costs.
How we work
If there has been a breakdown in communication, or arrangements cannot be agreed between you and the other parent, you should seek specialist advice as soon as possible to consider your rights and options.
The first stage is for us to meet with you, free of charge, to listen and understand the situation.
We understand that family law proceedings can be difficult and emotionally draining. While some firms limit an initial discussion to 30 minutes, we will speak to you for as long as it takes to build a complete picture of what the solution might look like for you and your family.
When we have that clarity, we will outline the process, explaining the likely timescales, key milestones and costs, as well as the team that will support you. In complex cases, the team will always be led by a partner, aided by more junior team members. We know from prior experience that this will give you the right mix of skills, knowledge and value.
Litigation is not always the answer and there are other effective, conflict-free routes that may work for you, such as mediation. In most private law cases there needs to be a referral to mediation before a Court application can be issued.
A voluntary and confidential process, mediation provides an open forum to discuss options face-to-face with the benefit of an impartial mediator, and without being legally bound to any statement, unless you choose otherwise. This freedom makes it easier for people to find a solution themselves, rather than it being dictated by a court.
As mediation also encourages you to work together to find solutions together, it will help you communicate effectively with each other in the future; this is particularly beneficially where children are involved. We have qualified mediators in our team who can give you the right support and guidance, as well ensuring complete control of your solution, from start to finish.
Our experience and credentials
We have recently provided advice in respect of:
- A three-day fact-find hearing, successfully proving the allegations against our client were unfounded, and achieving an outcome of shared care.
- Obtaining a High Court Order relating to the wrongful retention of a child in America when an emergency application was filed; a case further involving expert psychological assessments in relation to parental alienation.
- Successfully opposing an application for leave to move a child to Singapore; High Court proceedings determined child’s habitual residence and obtained a Passport Order, where liaising with the Passport and Home Office, along with cross-border authorities, was involved.
- Complex children proceedings involving an application for relocation, injunctions, psychological assessments, committal proceedings, and claim for housing provision for the child.
- Successfully opposing allegations of domestic abuse in a five-day fact find hearing, and re-instating contact.
- Successfully obtaining a Parental Order in the Family Court at the Royal Courts of Justice to transfer the legal parentage following the birth of their child through an international surrogacy arrangement in the Ukraine.
Recent feedback direct from clients includes:
- “A very caring and professional service. There were many difficult times but I always felt reassured in the path I was taking.”
- “A comprehensive and professional service, accessible and approachable ensuring any issues were speedily resolved. I had a complete and holistic understanding of each step and this instilled reassurance in me from the very outset.”
- “Extremely knowledgeable, kind and patient during a difficult time of my life. Nothing was too much trouble.”