Children Issues

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Parents who separate have to consider the arrangements for their children, such as where a child will live, which parent the child will live with, how often the other parent sees the children and financial support.  Parents are encouraged by the courts to reach out of court settlements, which in the long run, are far better for the parents and their children.  However, there are occasions when parents cannot agree or need assistance to reach an agreement.   At AWD Law, we are able to assist parents to reach an out of court settlement either by corresponding with the other party/lawyer, or by providing our mediation services to the parties.  If no agreement can be reached and the parties have exhausted all avenues to reach an out of court settlement, then they can make an application under the Children Act 1989 for a Judge to make a decision.

TYPES OF ORDERS WHICH A COURT CAN MAKE:

Parental Responsibility Order

Parental responsibility means the rights and responsibilities given to a parent.  However, not all parents automatically acquire parental responsibility.  Mothers automatically acquire parental responsibility, however, fathers can only acquire parental responsibility if they fall under the following category:-

Parental responsibility is important as it gives a parent the right to make important decisions regarding a child’s welfare, such as choosing schools, authorising medical treatment or deciding which religion a child should be brought up in.  If parents are separated and they both have parental responsibility, it means that both parents have the right to be included in important decisions.  Parents with parental responsibility are required to obtain consent from the other parent, if for instant, they want to remove the child out of the jurisdiction of England and Wales for a holiday or perhaps permanently.

Child Arrangement Orders

Child arrangement orders now replace residence and contact orders.  A child arrangement orders means an order regulating arrangements relating to any of the following:-

a) With whom a child is to live, spend time or otherwise have contact;

b) When a child is to live, spend time or otherwise have contact with any person.

Prohibited Steps Orders

Such an order is applied for to prevent a child’s parent from doing a particular act which is not agreed between the parties.  For instance, a parent may be planning to take a child abroad without the other parent’s permission.

Specific Issue Order

These types of orders are applied for where there are contentious issues arising in respect of parental rights and responsibilities.  Such contentious issues may be regulated by a Specific Issue Order which is brought to resolve issues concerning education, religion, consent for medical procedures or perhaps a resident parent wishing to relocate abroad with the child.

The criteria which a court takes into consideration

The court has wide ranging powers to make orders on behalf of children.  When a court makes such decisions, the welfare of the child will be the court’s paramount concern.  The court will only make an order if there is a clear dispute between the parties and that it would be in the child’s best interest to do so.  The court will also consider a welfare check list and consider factors such as

MIAMS Meetings

Before filing an application for private law children proceedings, the applicant is required to attend a MIAM meeting (subject to any exemptions).  The purpose of a MIAM meeting is to provide information about other processes and ways of trying to resolve a dispute out of court and to also provide other services, advice or support.

For further information of the issues contained above, please either telephone Oi-Yuyn on 01329 232314 or contact them by email at info@awdlaw.co.uk.

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