London Solicitor Child Arrangement (Contact and Residence) matters
The breakdown of a marriage, civil partnership or a relationship is difficult and emotional for all involved, especially for children of the family. The future arrangements for the children of the parties will need to be dealt with as swiftly and as amicably as possible in order to protect the wellbeing and best interests of the children in question.
The Courts are very clear in relation to children, namely that that all children are entitled to have a relationship with both their parents. This is something which all parents bear in mind at all times.
If you are able to agree contact and residence matters between yourselves, our London family solicitors are able to assist by way of preparing a Contact Agreement. Whilst not legally binding, such an agreement shows intention on the part of the parties should there later be a dispute the arrangements, or should the matter come before a Court. We charge a fixed fee of £350.00 plus VAT to prepare a Contact Agreement which can then be signed by both parents.
Our London family solicitors can also liaise and negotiate with the other parent in relation to reaching an agreement in relation to contact and residence matters.
There is also the avenue of mediation which parties should consider to resolve children matters, and indeed mediation is a pre-requisite to an application to Court.
In considering such an application, as set out in Section 1 of the Children Act 1989, the Court must have regard to:
- the ascertainable wishes and feelings of the child concerned (considered in the light of his age and understanding);
- his physical, emotional and educational needs;
- the likely effect on him of any change in his circumstances;
- his age, sex, background and any characteristics of his which the court considers relevant;
- any harm which he has suffered or is at risk of suffering;
- how capable each of his parents, and any other person in relation to whom the court considers the question to be relevant, is of meeting his needs;
The Court and CAFCASS or a social worker must consider all aspects of an application as set out above, including whether there are any safeguarding concerns, whether there has been prior involvement with social services or the police, and whether there is a need to have a fact finding hearing, amongst other things.
To discuss Child Arrangement matters further, and the likely costs of dealing with the same, please contact one of our family lawyers.
We can also assist you with making an application for other Orders relating to children such as Parental Responsibility Orders, Specific Issue Orders (e.g. to determine whether a child should go on a holiday or move to a different address) and Prohibited Steps Orders.