If you have children and you have not been able to agree with whom the children will live, or what contact they will have with the parent they do not live with, then we can help you find a resolution. It is important to remember it is the child’s right to have contact with the parent who does not live at home.

You need to be aware that the court expects there to be contact between a child and the parent who does not live with them, unless there is a very good reason why it should not take place. These reasons can include domestic violence and emotional harm.

We approach these matters in a child focused way knowing that the welfare of the child must be the paramount consideration for all involved.

The first steps we take are to try and resolve your differences by negotiation if at all possible. The starting point is that the child should live in a safe and secure home and have contact with the parent who does not live with them. If that is not possible we will then refer you to a mediator.

Mediation

As from the 22nd April this year before you can apply to the court for an order (unless it is an urgent application) you MUST attend a Mediation Information Assessment Meeting (MIAM). Likewise the other parent should also attend a separate meeting. The MIAM is designed to provide parents with a means of trying to resolve their differences with the aid of someone who is independent from their own solicitors. It is only if this proves unsuccessful that you can apply to the court.

Legal Aid may be available for mediation if you can prove you have been subject to domestic violence within the previous 24 months and you qualify financially.

Court Procedure

There is now one Family Court and the court will decide which level of service will meet the needs of your particular case.

There are no longer Residence and Contact orders. The Court will now make a Child Arrangement Order which will set out where the child will live and what visits they will have to the parent who does not live with them.

We can help you with preparing the documents needed and to represent you at any Court hearings. Knowing that the cost of children matters may seem daunting we offer you different levels of service at fixed fees.

LEGAL AID is not available for such problems unless there has been domestic violence within the previous 24 months and you meet the financial limits.

For an appointment complete our contact form or ring 01493 857621 and ask for Laura Newson