We can help you with legal advice, support and legal representation services if you are involved in a dispute about arrangements for your children, including:
Who your child should live with
Who your child should spend time with
Specific parenting issues (such as gender transitions, medical decisions and schooling).
We have an inclusive modern approach and a particular specialism in cases involving LGBT+ parents, gender identity issues and children conceived through assisted reproduction, surrogacy and donor conception.
In the first instance we usually arrange a meeting with you, which can be face to face at our offices in London or the New Forest, or by Skype or telephone. As leaders in our field we work with families based all over the UK and internationally. We can help you understand what the family court is likely to do if you (or someone else) applies for a child arrangements order, and what steps you can take to find a solution as pragmatically as possible.
A child arrangements order is a court order made by the family court which says who your child should live with and who they should spend time (as well as detailing the timings, location and any supervision arrangements). They used to be called residence and contact orders, and before that custody and access orders.
You may need to ask the court for a child arrangements order if you have separated from your partner and cannot agree arrangements for your children. You might also need one if you are in a dispute with your child’s donor, surrogate or co-parent about arrangements for the child you have conceived together.
Child arrangements orders also deal with specific parenting issues where parents cannot agree. Typical issues include whether a child should have a particular medical treatment, be allowed to go through a social gender transition or attend a particular school. Where adults cannot agree, the family court can make an order resolving a specific issue, or make a prohibited steps order to stop something from happening.
Whatever the nature of your dispute, you will always be encouraged by the family court to reach your own agreement and to consider mediation where appropriate. If this is not possible or is unsuccessful the court will (after hearing the evidence from each side, and in some cases asking for input from CAFCASS and other experts) make a decision based on what is best for your child’s welfare. The court has a very broad discretion which makes it important to manage the process sensibly and strategically. We can help you to do that.
Find out more about child arrangements orders from our knowledge centre.
Legal parents and some other adults have an automatic right to apply to court for a child arrangements order. Other adults may first need the permission of the court, which will be given if you can show sufficient connection with the child.
If you are a parent through donor conception or surrogacy, you may need to check whether you are entitled to apply before starting an application.
We can help you apply for a child arrangements order, or help you respond to an application made by someone else.
We usually arrange a meeting with you in the first instance which can be face-to-face at our offices in central London or the New Forest, or by Skype or telephone. We will discuss with you honestly what the family court is likely to do in your case, and advise you strategically on how best to move forward and how we can help you.
We provide legal representation services to manage any court process and support you through any discussions with the other party in your case. We know how much you need someone on your side during what can be an incredibly stressful and emotional process, and our role is to guide you strategically to ensure the best possible outcome, and to support you at a personal level.
Our work is charged competitively on an hourly rate basis, with regular monthly invoicing and clear costs estimates given at every stage.