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When separating, arrangements for child contact and residence should ideally be agreed at the outset, but in the event of a dispute arising you may require legal support.

As members of Resolution, we believe in reaching child-focused solutions. Separations can have a significant impact on a child’s mental wellbeing. With clear and practical advice, we will strive to make the process as painless as possible and to achieve an outcome that is in your child/children’s best interests.

Bringing child arrangement applications to court can be a costly and stressful process. We always pursue out-of-court methods to resolve issues with your ex-partner as the first step. In the vast majority of cases, negotiation and mediation processes result in a positive outcome without the need to go to court.

Child arrangement orders

The courts always place the welfare of the child as the top priority. If your case progresses to court, any order the court makes will be based on the paramount consideration of the child or children’s welfare; what is in their best interests will come first before anything else.

For example, if you are being prevented from seeing your children and there is no reason why this is the case (i.e. there are no safeguarding issues), we would seek to demonstrate that this is not in the best interests of the child or children.

In most cases it is considered to be in a child’s best interests to spend time with both parents and members of their wider families. If, however, you need to prevent your ex-partner, their new partner, or another family member from seeing your children because, for instance, there are safety concerns you can apply for a Prohibited Steps Order to prevent contact and prevent the child being removed from your care.

Resolving disputes about children with your ex-partner

Our aim is to pre-empt and prevent future problems, which is why we seek to ensure that any agreed or ordered child arrangements make provision for special occasions such as the Christmas period, birthdays, holidays, and Father’s/Mother’s Day.

Where appropriate, we will recommend that parents attend the Separated Parents Information Programme. This is a course which is intended to help parents put their children first when a separation occurs.

Child maintenance claims

Upon divorce or separation, the person who the child lives with can claim child maintenance. Parents can contact the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) to arrange maintenance if they cannot reach an agreement between themselves.

In certain circumstances, an application can be made to the court for financial provision for a child under Schedule 1 of the Children Act 1989. A Schedule 1 application only relates to the needs of the child or children, and again their welfare is paramount. Making a claim is even more relevant if the child has a disability or the other parent  has considerable wealth or lives abroad. Such applications can include claims to cover education costs or to provide a home for the child/ children. This type of application is more common with parents who are unmarried.

We can assist with providing advice and drafting Schedule 1 applications.

To speak to one of our family lawyers to discuss your options, please call our Derby office on 01332 226 174 or our Birmingham office on 0121 389 4546.

With over 50 years of combined experience across the team, our family solicitors are well-equipped to advise and assist parents and grandparents negotiating child arrangements.

We address parental responsibility disputes, contact, and who the child should live with as well as specific disputes relating to a child’s name, their education and holiday issues.

We have significant experience in more complex cases regarding relocation overseas, successfully representing parents who seek to move abroad and those trying to prevent relocation.  If court intervention is necessary, we have a wealth of experience in representing parents and grandparents in family courts throughout the UK.

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