We are specialist Child, Divorce and Family solicitors within Croydon and Central London and have a strong reputation in assisting clients with family issues. We offer competitive pricing and offer a bespoke service to all our clients.
When a relationship breaks down, discussions have to happen to sort out where the child/children will be living and how often the other parent will see them.
We understand that this can be a very difficult situation for everyone. The end of their parents relationship creates a difficult time for children. Worse, children often blame themselves when their parents separate and divorce.
Divorce is damaging for children. If their parents openly argue over the arrangements for them this makes the children feel bad, guilty or disloyal to one or other of their parents. They may experience stress, feeling miserable and lost.
It is preferable for parents who are separating or divorcing to reach agreement between them. There is a no order principle in which the Courts will not make an order unless it considers it is in the child’s best interests to do so.
At BHD Solicitors we can deal with all issues relating to child law including residency, relocation and international child law. We will work with you to negotiate an agreement with your ex-partner in order to achieve the best possible outcome for your children.
If an agreement cannot be reached, there are many different options available including family mediation or court application. If you are applying to the courts, there are many different orders a court can make, which include contact orders, residence, specific issues, prohibited steps and parental responsibility.
In respect of child maintenance, the Courts do not have jurisdiction for the majority of families and if agreement cannot be reached an application to the Child Maintenance Service may be necessary.
Maintenance for children is now governed by a set formula and the Child Maintenance Service encourages parents to reach agreement based upon their figures and pay each other direct. However, they will make collections if required.
Applying to Court
Before applying to Court, mediation must be explored as an option (unless exemptions apply). If mediation isn’t the way forward, then either of you can make an application to the Court.
The Court will work with both parents to help you to come to an agreement. If you can’t agree, the Court will make an order with the child’s welfare always being the most important thing.
Stages of Proceedings
The Court proceedings go through various stages, and we’ll keep you updated as to where you are in the process.
To give you an idea of what to expect there are 3 main hearings:
• The first hearing – the Court will look at how the case should progress and what steps will need to be taken to get the case ready for hearing. This includes seeing if any reports or statements need to be sorted.
• Dispute resolution hearing – at this hearing, the aim is to narrow any outstanding issues. It comes after the preparation of a Cafcass report or parenting programme. If possible, this is treated as the final hearing.
• Final hearing – the judge will consider the evidence and will give a judgement as to the final outcome.
How Barnes Harrild & Dyer Solicitors can help
It is of the utmost importance that you get the right advice as early in the process as possible as any delay could have a negative impact on arrangements for the children in future.
For further information and a free telephone consultation, reach out to us via the blue contact boxes at the top of this page, and a Child, Divorce and Family solicitor from our Central London or Croydon office will get back to you with a same day response.