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Children

Children

When a relationship breaks down and there are children involved, parents are not always able to reach agreement about issues such as who the children will live with and how much time they should spend with the other parent.  We understand that resolving these difficulties is not easy and we can offer advice and assistance at whatever level is needed.

We recognise that applying to Court is a last resort and will always try to explore other options. If it is necessary to go to Court, the child’s welfare will come first in relation to any decisions made. The Court will also be anxious to avoid any unnecessary delay and try to reach a decision quickly.

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The Court can make a range of Orders in relation to children but the main Orders that are made are:

1. Child Arrangements Order

A Child Arrangements Order setting out:

  • with whom a child is to live (formerly called custody, or residence)
  • how much time a child is to spend with the either parent (formerly called access or contact)

2. Specific Issue Order

A Specific Issue Order which deals with an individual issue, for example what medical treatment a child should have or what school they should attend.

3. Prohibited Steps Order

A Prohibited Steps Order which prevents a specified action from taking place, for example taking the child abroad.

Each of the Solicitors in our Family Department are experienced in dealing with a range of issues regarding children, either by providing advice, negotiating agreements or representing parents in legal proceedings.  We also have experience in dealing with cases involving Social Services.

We can provide expert, sympathetic and child-focused advice and representation on all matters involving children.

The Legal 500 says that Kerseys is “a real leader in even seemingly intractable disputes” in relation to children matters.

FAQ's

Contact with Children After Separating

Q. If I separate from my partner, will I be able to see my children?
A. Yes, unless there are valid concerns about their safety.

Q. We can’t talk to each other, how can I arrange contact?
A. Try enlisting the help of a trusted friend or family member, a Mediator or a Solicitor.

Q. We cannot agree – what next?
A. It may be necessary to apply to the Family Court for a Child Arrangements Order.

Q. Can I do that myself or do I need a lawyer?
A. You can do it yourself but an experienced Solicitor can provide valuable advice and representation.

See more Child Law FAQs

What is CAFCASS?

CAFCASS stands for Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service. You may better know them as Court Welfare Officers. CAFCASS are independent experts appointed by the Court to advise on what is safe for children and what arrangements would promote their best interests.

Why do CAFCASS get involved?

CAFCASS are independent of the courts, social services, education and health authorities and all similar agencies. They independently advise the family courts about what is safe for children and in their best interests. They are charged with putting the child’s needs, wishes and feelings first, making sure that children’s voices are heard at the heart of the family court setting.

Are you open on Saturdays?

At Kerseys we understand not everyone is available between 9-5 Monday to Friday which is why we adopt a more flexible approach. Pre booked appointments can be arranged for after-hours any day of the week or at weekends which are in addition to a member of our Team being available between 9.30-12.30 via our website on the first Saturday of each month and on the second Wednesday of the month until 6.15pm. (For Wednesday after hours, please ensure you pre book these by calling the department in advance).

Our family lawyers are all set up to work from home, so we are no longer constrained by appointments having to take place in the office between 9-5. We now offer appointments over the telephone and also via a number of video platforms. This added flexibility, means that your family lawyer can be on hand to help you at any time convenient to you.

If you are a member of the Police Federation, we offer:

1. FREE initial consultation at a day and time convenient to you, even after hours or at weekends

2. 10% off our fees for the duration of the matter (this offer also extends to our Residential Property department).

Do you offer a free or fixed fee appointment?

We offer a 45 minute fixed fee appointment, in which we provide you with bespoke legal advice and include setting out your options on how to move forward. Our fixed fee for this is £125.00 plus VAT (£150.00 in total) and is payable in advance of the meeting. Don’t worry if the meeting runs over, you will not be charged any additional fee.

The way we work

Fair, acceptable settlement through negotiation is always the preferred solution, to save you stress and expense. If that’s not possible, then we will fight your case strongly through the courts.

We encourage you to gather as much relevant information and documentation as you can, in order to lessen your costs. Our initial advice will include assessing whether you can handle the case, or elements of it, yourself. It’s another potential way you can contain expense.

We prefer to give you a firm quotation of costs upfront. If that isn’t possible in your case, we will explain why.

What is a legal separation (often referred to as Judicial Separation)?

A judicial separation is a formal separation which is sanctioned by the court. It enables the court to make orders about the division of money and property, similar to the orders which can be made on divorce, without actually terminating the marriage.

What are legal proceedings?

Legal Proceedings are court based applications such as divorce, finances, children arrangements as well as Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustee Act applications which cover unmarried couples with property disputes.

Is a name change legal?

Yes, as long as it is correctly undertaken. We offer a Change of Name Deed service. If seeking to change a forename or surname of a child, both parents need to consent. Where consent is not given, a court application can be made to deal with this specific issue.

Is a pre-nuptial agreement legal?

Pre and post nuptial agreements are yet to “bind” courts to their content should they be disputed. However there has been a raft of case law since the leading case of Radmacher in 2009 in which Courts are now attaching significant weight to their existence as long as the criteria for their formulation has been strictly adhered to. Ultimately however, a court will always consider the content of such an agreement when deciding financial relief cases.

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If you would like to know more about this process or feel this could be something you would benefit from, please contact us at [email protected] or telephone Ipswich 01473 213311 or Colchester 01206 584584, where we will be happy to speak with you.

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Family Team

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