Child Care Solicitors in BedfordGet Directions
At Cartwright King, we are proud to be a recognised Legal 500 law firm providing specialist advice to child care cases in Bedford and the surrounding Bedfordshire county, as well as throughout the UK. Our highly-skilled team of child care solicitors work quickly and efficiently to pressured deadlines in order to resolve your complex needs.
Our solicitors support individuals with their child care proceedings consistently, assisting on matters of advanced family law and children law. Whether you require support in retaining custody of your children, or you are grandparents wishing to obtain a special guardianship order (SGO), we can provide you with the expertise you need. From Care and Supervision Orders to advice on additional problems that can crop up within care proceedings, we endeavour to ensure the process is concluded as effectively as possible.
We understand that these cases come with heightened emotions, and some with traumatic circumstances. It can be immensely difficult when relationships break down, especially when this decision leads to a custody battle over children. Our solicitors are on-hand to not only help you understand your legal positioning but also to offer support, ensuring the children’s welfare comes first.
Our child care solicitors have vast experience in providing legal advice remotely via video meetings and over the phone so you can reach out to us wherever you are based. Our child care team is based in Bedford, opposite ‘The Cricketers Arms,’ where we can meet you in person.
Call us today on 01234 263 263 or fill out our online enquiry form and arrange for your FREE, no-obligation telephone consultation with a child care solicitor.
How can Cartwright King’s Solicitors help?
Our child care solicitor’s regularly support clients with their various childcare-related problems, and they have a proven track record resolving matters, including:
Child Care Proceedings and Hearings
A ‘public law’ case or child care proceeding refers to instances where the local authority’s social services feel the need to step in to guarantee the safety of a child. In most instances, a ‘public law’ is a final attempt to improve a home situation, after previous efforts have proven unsuccessful – most examples include working with the family through the Public Law Outline procedure. Our team of child care solicitors in Bedford are able to assist you and your family through all stages of proceedings and hearings, and with the utmost discretion.
Where the child’s safety is considered in extreme danger, the police can be involved to remove the child for 72 hours from their home address. These actions are followed by care proceedings and recorded as police protective powers. In extreme cases, a child can be authorised by the court to be removed for 8 days when an Emergency Protection Order is issued. At Cartwright King, our solicitors can provide all the legal guidance and support you need, ensuring your rights are protected throughout the case.
Removing a child from their home environment is only possible with the involvement of the police. The social services do not have the authority to remove a child without your agreement or a court order. When child care proceedings are in play, there are a number of different hearings that will follow. These include:
- Case Management Hearing – an introductory hearing that aims to establish when and how the case will be determined.
- Contested Removal Hearing – when the local authority wishes to remove a child from their own environment, a carer or parent has the right to contest this decision. The court will hold this hearing to help resolve where the child should reside during the proceedings
- Issues Resolution Hearing – evidence is gathered next and assessments are carried out to help decide what the next steps should be. All parties, inclusive of the children’s family, will state what they believe should happen. The Issue Resolution Hearing then attempts to address any identified issues. With the help of our Bedford child care solicitors, your case will be presented and all processes will be followed to ensure you have the best chance of keeping your child.
- Final Hearing – this hearing only goes ahead when the previous hearing cannot resolve the issues. The court arranges a final hearing in order to hear all the evidence and arguments again.
Get a Free Initial Consultation Today
Trust is an essential factor when it comes to choosing the right legal advisor. At Cartwright King, our expert child care solicitors understand this and will encourage you to get to know them before committing to their appointment. To help you make your decision, we offer all our potential clients the opportunity to speak to our child care solicitors.
Within your FREE introductory, no-obligation telephone consultation, we will:
- Find out more information about you and your case
- Understand the details of your child care position
- Discuss the different options available to you
All initial discussions are complementary and fully confidential. Use this consultation to gain an insight into how we work at Cartwright King and whether this is the right fit for you. There is no obligation to continue with our expert solicitors after this initial call if you don’t want to.
*Please note that this is simply a “get to know you” conversation and, therefore, will not include any detailed legal advice and strategy.
Our Child Care Soliciting Fees
At Cartwright King, we believe everyone deserves quality legal advice, regardless of your reason for needing legal representation. With your children’s future and stability in the balance, this need is paramount. Therefore, we are open and honest about our pricing structure for our child care services. For some clients, Legal Aid may be available to help fund your Child Care Proceeding – those who have parental responsibility for a child should automatically qualify for free legal advice. To check if you’re eligible for Legal Aid, get in touch with us with your enquiry.
Why Choose Cartwright King?
If you need us, we’ll be there. At Cartwright King, we understand the sensitive nature of many cases and the need for full confidentiality with our clients. This is why we always operate responsibly, supporting all cases with the utmost respect and providing honest accounts at every stage of the process.
We have been named as a Legal 500 law firm, accredited by the Law Society for our solicitor’s experience and professionalism in managing child care law services, including advanced family law and children law matters.
Find our Bedford offices
Our Bedford office is located at Clifton House, 4A Goldington Road, Bedford, MK40 3NF
There are limited car parking facilities available on-site, on a first-come, first-served basis. However, there is another option available within a 2-minute walk from the door. Simply exit the main car park exit, turn left and you will have Cartwright King on your left.
When travelling by train, you will find Bedford train station a mere 15-minute walk from our offices. The route to follow is > Midland Road > Bromham Road > Dame Alice Street > St Peter’s Street > Goldington Road. Our office is located opposite ‘The Cricketers Arms.’ There is also a taxi rank immediately outside the railway station.
If you are arriving by bus, please depart at Bedford Rugby Club. From here, it takes less than 5-minutes to walk to our offices. Simply, retrace the bus back up the road, crossing at the one-way system. The office is located on the right.
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Frequently asked questions.
How do child care proceedings go to court?
The court is introduced into child care proceedings when a child’s safety is questioned. When the local authority’s social services department has reason to believe a child is unsafe at home, a ‘public law’ case can be raised in court. This begins a hearing process in court that works to evaluate the child’s home environment and the level of care they receive.
It is worth noting that child care proceedings can only be accelerated to court with the involvement of the police. If social services have mild concerns, they must work with the family first before a ‘public law’ can be raised.
How long do child care proceedings take?
Child care proceedings aim to be resolved within 24 weeks (6 months) after the initial application was submitted.
What types of child care orders can be issued at the end of child care proceedings?
At the end of a child care proceeding, a court can insist on four different orders to be implemented. These are:
- Supervision Order – under this ruling, the local authority must advise, assist and support both the children and the family. This order is necessary for 12 months; however, it can be extended for the following two years if the authority deems it necessary. Under a Supervision Order, the child remains with their family.
- Special Guardianship Order – decides the children must be looked after by Special Guardians, normally known family members. These guardians gain parental responsibility and make decisions regarding the children’s welfare.
- Care Order – this decision hands the children’s parental responsibility, and decisions regarding health and education, go to the local authority. Children with care orders reside with a foster family or family member. The children’s parents still retain some parental responsibility; but, the local authority makes the day-to-day decisions regarding the children’s care.
- Placement Order – this order can be implemented alongside a Care Order. If the court rules that the children’s best interest is to be placed outside of their family, this order is given. A process begins to find an appropriate adoptive family for the child or children.
A Care or Supervision Order can only be issued if the court decides the child already has or is at risk of suffering harm under their current care.
In most cases, Interim Care Orders or Interim Supervision Orders are implemented. These orders are temporary orders that last while the court carries out the necessary assessments and gathers all information for the Judge to make a long-term decision.
What child care rights do grandparents have?
Grandparents do not have parental rights for a grandchild, without making an application to the court. You must also gain the approval of the children’s parents before this responsibility can be given. Once an application of ‘leave’ is made to the court, the court will decide whether to hear the issue. Successful applications are normally granted where the grandchild/grandchildren are already residing with the grandparents or if there is uncertainty about where these children can live.
Before making a decision, the Judge will consult the Children Act 1989 welfare checklist to evaluate the proposal.
What child care rights do step-parents have?
Parental rights cannot be obtained by simply marrying or entering a Civil Partnership with the children’s biological mother or father, and the same can be said for cohabiting as an unmarried couple. Put simply, the birth parents will retain the children’s parental responsibility.
It is possible to apply to the court to gain parental responsibility as a step-parent, however. Since 2005, if you are a married step-parent, you may be able to acquire recognition, especially if you have lived with the children for more than three years. As an unmarried step-parent, a Child Arrangement Order or an application to adopt your partner’s child is recommended to help your case.