When parents separate it can lead to difficulties about the arrangements in respect of their children. Commonly there can be disagreements about the amount of time that the children spend with each parent; who should they live with (historically known as residence or custody), how often and in what circumstances should the children see the other parent (known as contact or access).
Of course parents are encouraged to try and resolve these issues between themselves and a great many do. There is no requirement to have arrangements approved by a court; the law will only get involved where parents cannot resolve matters for themselves.
We recognise that children disputes raise difficult and complex issues, and we are able to offer practical and specialist advice to parents to achieve the best outcome for children and adults alike. There are no fixed rules about what arrangements are right. We can advise you on the sort of arrangements that might be appropriate and the type of arrangements that a court might impose if a judge was asked to decide. It’s a good idea to get sound legal advice from the outset so you know what may be appropriate for this our fixed fee one hour appointment is ideal. For £50 + VAT we will meet with you for up to an hour, discuss your circumstances, the options available and the alternative steps available and provide you with a summary of the matters discussed.
We can help you try to negotiate arrangements with the other parent whether that is face to face between yourselves or through mediation. Where necessary we can negotiate arrangements on your behalf. In some cases where issues cannot be resolved by agreement or compromise court proceedings may be necessary. We can support and represent you through those proceedings. All of our solicitors are members of Resolution, we have solicitors who are members of the Law Society’s specialist accredited Children Panel and Mark Higgins is also an accredited a specialist by Resolution in children matters.
Children disputes can also sadly bring with them issues about child protection with problems associated with drugs, alcohol or abuse. As specialists we are equipped and have the expertise to deal with these matters. These issues might give rise to urgent applications for orders from a court in order to protect the child.
There is some detailed information about children disputes, court proceedings and the available orders here.
We know that the cost of legal advice is a big worry. We have a contract with the Legal Aid Agency and so for those cases where legal aid is available and subject to eligibility we are able to offer legal aid. If you are not eligible for legal aid you will find our charges competitive, we have fixed fees for appropriate cases and can advise or conduct aspects of a case whilst you deal with other aspects yourself. We can advise and represent throughout a case and offer flexible payments on our hourly charges.