Expert advice from specialist children dispute lawyers

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.

The types of children dispute we can help you with

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.

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).

Recent examples of our work in this area

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.

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.

Fees and costs

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 us to build a complete picture of what the solution might look like for you and your family.

If you instruct us to take on your case you will be required to pay funds upfront, known as providing a ‘payment on account’. This amount is typically £500 but could be more if you have an imminent Court hearing or other substantial work that needs to be dealt with at the outset of your case.

In addition to your legal fees, you may also have to pay ‘disbursements’ which is a term given to additional costs such as fees for a barrister and Court fees. Any disbursements that are incurred on your behalf by the firm have to be paid in advance and you will be notified when a payment needs to be made.

As far as your legal fees are concerned, we will typically raise an interim invoice every month so that you can keep up to date with your fees. The amount we bill depends on how much work we have done that month and therefore each month your bill will vary.

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.

What people say about working with us

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.”

Legal Directory Feedback

Excellent client care

Chambers, 2022


Lincoln Divorce & Family Solicitor - Emma Lawler

Emma Lawler


01522 508 812

07703 729 861

Langleys will only use the information you provide to contact you in relation to your enquiry.


Claire Withers Partner Langleys Solicitors Family Law, Divorce and Separation Beverley

Claire Withers


01904 683 113

07923 230 716

Langleys will only use the information you provide to contact you in relation to your enquiry.


Theo Hoppen, Divorce Solicitor York, Partner in Family law at Langleys Solicitors

Theo Hoppen


01904 683 115

07923 249 246

Langleys will only use the information you provide to contact you in relation to your enquiry.

Legal Directory Feedback

They always have an incredibly good relationship with their clients and are able to give the difficult advice when needed.

Chambers, 2021

They provide a very good service and are able to deal with very high-value cases.

Chambers, 2021

A well-established firm with an extremely good team of individuals that make the firm what it is today.

Chambers, 2020

They provide prompt and personal attention with a practical approach.

Legal 500, 2020

The team is very professional, competent and knowledgeable about the individual cases.

Legal 500, 2020
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