Important things to consider:
- Contact and living arrangements
- Financial Provisions: - Maintenance or lump sums
- Parental responsibilities
- Enforcement of court orders, when arrangements are not being complied with.
- Arrangements for contact with Grandparents.
After separation many parents are faced with the daunting task of agreeing contact arrangements for their children. In some situations, parents are able to come to an agreement between themselves, dealing with the specific arrangements for the children. These agreements are not legally binding and are often referred to as a parenting plan.
If the parents are unable to come to an agreement between themselves, they can attend Family Mediation, which allows them to negotiate with an independent third party being present. If Mediation is not appropriate for some individual cases, then solicitors can negotiate on the parent’s behalf.
Some parents then wish to legally formalise their agreement, which can be done by a solicitor who will draft the agreement into a Consent Order. The Consent Order must be agreed by both parents before it is sent to the Court. The Court can approve the Consent Order, without the parent’s attending any hearings at Court.
If parents cannot come to an agreement, then the parents can issue Child Arrangement Proceedings at Court. The Court can then make the following Orders:
- Child Arrangements Order, which determines with whom the children should live with and with whom the children should have contact with.
- Prohibited Steps Order, which is made when one parent wants to prevent the other parent from doing something, which may not be in the best interests of children. Some examples include, preventing the removal of the children from the care of the other parent, preventing the removal of the child from country and their school.
- Specific Issues Order, which is made when the parents cannot agree on certain issues, such as decisions regarding the children’s education, religious education, and the children’s medical care.
One of our clients needed urgent prohibitive steps in proceeding issued at court, immediately after Christmas. Prohibitive steps issued granted our client preventing the Mother taking the child out of our client's care, due to safeguarding concerns. The Courts assessed the safeguarding concerns and decided on a 50/50 shared parenting plan, which the client had been seeking from the beginning. This was a successful conclusion for our client.
Our client needed to change a long established 50/50 shared parenting plan, due to the schedule not working. The other party sought to keep the 50/50 shared parenting plan. Proceedings were issued at Court. The Court decided to stop the 50/50 shared parenting plan, and decided in our client's favour.
Here at Bell Lax we know how important your children are, and we have helped many clients to resolve legal issues involving the children in relationship breakdowns. We prefer a conciliatory, but firm, determined, and professional manner to protect everyone's mental well being.
We deal with all aspects of Private Children matters and if you would like to discuss your children matters with us, then please contact us on 0121 355 0011 to discuss your options, and a way forward. Our head of department Jennifer Brook is very experienced in this area of law.