Machins Solicitors LLP
Leading Solicitors in Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire & Buckinghamshire
  • Luton: 01582 514000
  • Berkhamsted: 01442 872311
  • Hemel Hempstead: 01442 345047

Children Arrangements and Disputes

Machins family team advise on issues involving children including Child Arrangement Orders, parenting plans, mediation, Prohibited Steps Orders, specific issues orders & removal from England and Wales.

It is very important that the welfare of a child is the primary consideration when a family breaks up. 

The Children Act and the Courts encourage parents to settling issues concerning children through mutual agreement between themselves.

The parties will need to attend a ‘Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting’ (MIAM) to determine whether mediation is appropriate in your case before issuing an application to the Court.

We can prepare parenting plans which are now becoming increasingly popular. It is an agreement which sets out the arrangements for the children. We can negotiate where there are issues with the aim of reaching an agreement without resorting to Court.

The following Court Orders are available:

Child Arrangement Orders

This sets out who a child is to live with and who they should have contact with. The Order can set out the duration and frequency of the time that the child will spend with each parent. It can also include provisions for indirect contact, such as by telephone.

Prohibited Steps Orders

This order prohibits a specified action by one parent. For example, it can be used when one parent is proposing to relocate with the children to a different area and the other parent does not agree.

Specific Issue Orders

This order deals with a specific issue that is at dispute. It can resolve issues such as which school the child should attend, a change of surname, whether they should have an operation. It can address issues that are not agreed between parents in the child’s upbringing or welfare.

Leaving the UK

Where both parents have parental responsibility of a child permission is required before a child can be removed from the country.

If a Child Arrangement Order is in place which stipulates who the child should live with, that parent can take the child out of the country for up to one month without the consent of the other parent. If they seek to remove the child for longer than 1 month, they will require the consent of all parties with parental responsibility for that child or a further Order of the Court.

Where no Child Arrangements Order is in force, a person seeking to remove a child from the jurisdiction will require the consent of all people who have parental responsibility for that child, regardless of the duration of time they are seeking to remove the child for. If consent is refused, the person seeking to remove the child must make an application for a Specific Issue Order so that the Court can determine whether the child can be removed from the jurisdiction. If a parent removes a child from the jurisdiction without consent of the other parent, that parent can make an application for a Prohibited Steps Order to prevent the child from being removed.

Parental Responsibility Order

Parental Responsibility means all the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which a parent of a child has in relation to the child and his property. It gives the parent responsibility for making important decisions in the child’s life like education, religion, medical care etc. It enables the parent to make day to day decisions.

You will automatically have Parental Responsibility for a child in the following circumstances:

Primary Team Member

Kathryn Ainsworth
Partner - Head of Family Law

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Tel: 01442 872311

Twitter @ainsworth_legal