Child Custody Solicitors

Child custody solicitors
Legally reviewed by: Shakeela Bi

As a parent, you will understandably be worried about the emotional wellbeing and safety of your children when going through a divorce or separation. That’s why putting the needs of your children first is the top priority of our child custody solicitors. 

There’s no substitute for speaking to a specialist child custody solicitor when faced with making child arrangements. To open your case with Cartwright King, call or email us today and we will get back to you.

Empathetic And Experienced Child Custody Solicitors

We listen, we care and we act fast to bring stability to what is a time of instability for you and your children. Cartwright King is a family of We listen, we care and we act fast to bring stability to what is a time of instability for you and your children. Cartwright King is a family of specialist lawyers working nationwide, serving with empathy and experience to help with your child custody cases.

Child Custody Court Orders (England and Wales)

Whether you are struggling to agree on where your children should reside after divorce or separation from your ex-partner or having difficulty agreeing on issues surrounding your children’s care, we are here to help. At Cartwright King, our custody solicitors have an in-depth knowledge of child custody court orders in England and Wales concerning child care laws.

How Our Child Custody Solicitors Can Support You

At Cartwright King, our child custody solicitors can support you across a wide range of services. When it comes to securing or making arrangements for your child’s custody, we understand the emotional strain this can put on all involved. That is why we work timely to bring back stability into your childcare agreements.

Child Arrangements

When you are going through a divorce or separation, making arrangements for your children can be a particularly stressful process. With our child custody solicitors by your side, we will help you negotiate a plan that allows your children to have appropriate contact with those who have parental responsibility.

Your child’s well-being and safety will be our top priority, and regardless of how you feel toward your ex-partner, it is recommended for children to have contact with both parents. We can help you decide on who the resident parent will be and what contact arrangements will be in place for holidays, weekends and medical appointments. We can also make plans for how new partners will be introduced and how school reports will be shared. With thorough child arrangements in place, our custody solicitors can ensure your best interests are considered and the emotional strain is controlled.

Specific Issue Order

If there is a disagreement over parental responsibility, your custody solicitor can arrange for a specific issue order to be made to the court. Such disputes can range from disagreements over which school to send your child to disagreements over medical treatment. Additional issues can concern religion and also relocation. For the latter, it is a criminal offence to take your child abroad without consideration of the other parent’s contact. Speaking to a specialist child custody solicitor is crucial before implementing such a move.

Prohibited Steps Orders

A prohibited steps order can be requested in an attempt to stop a parent from carrying out a particular action that directly relates to their parental responsibility. These actions can include associating your child with an individual who would provoke adverse influence, preventing and refusing medical treatment, and permanently taking your child abroad. In any of these instances, our Cartwright King custody solicitors can make an application to the courts, presenting your case to have a prohibited steps order put in place.

Resident Parents and Parental Responsibility

When child arrangement orders are required, one parent must be appointed as the resident parent. This person will have parental responsibility and is whom your children will reside with for the majority of the time. The other parent is allowed access but this will all be decided within an agreement. This arrangement has to be possible; for example, if your children live with you as the resident parent, you cannot be absent overnight due to your shift pattern.

Often both parents have parental responsibility and, therefore, have equal rights in raising their children. This remains regardless of how much time is spent between the two. Decisions regarding your children’s medical care, education, culture and religion will need to be agreed upon. Working with mediators and child custody solicitors can help in keeping these discussions and arrangements amicable, allowing you to experience a smooth divorce overall.

Child Maintenance

Money is often the cause of ill feelings between ex-partners and divorcing spouses. When it comes to child maintenance, the list can be endless when considering all the costs necessary to bring up your child. The best course of action is to work with your ex-partner, deciding who pays for what and then making this agreement legally binding with the help of a custody solicitor. Costs to consider include school fees, school uniforms, travel costs between both parents, school trips and equipment, general clothing, as well as birthdays, treats and pocket money.

If you and your ex-partner are unable to agree together, you can approach Child Maintenance Service (CMS) for support. For children in the UK, the CMS makes payments to the resident parent in relation to gross income, the length of time the children are with you, as well as your additional maintenance costs for other children.

Child Arrangement Orders

Child arrangement orders come into force when parents cannot agree through mediation, discussions and collaborative law. An arrangement order is suggested to the court and a hearing will take place to decide whether this option is suitable. With these orders, anyone with parental responsibility can make a request, including guardians, special guardians and those who have had a residence order for the child in question. Step-parents are also able to apply as long as they have lived with the child for over 3 years.

The typical process of Child Arrangement Orders is as follows:

  • Complete and submit a C100 form with your custody solicitor. If your case involves domestic abuse or you are at risk of harm, a C1A form must accompany this.
  • Your application will be reviewed by a Judge and a first hearing will be arranged.
  • This first hearing allows for both parties to come to an amicable agreement that can be made legally binding. If an agreement is not reached, the Judge will step in and make a ruling. In cases where there is not enough evidence, a second hearing is arranged.
  • This final hearing allows for more evidence to be presented, enabling the Judge to make a final decision.
  • If you wish to appeal this decision, you have 21 days to submit your request. It is recommended to seek advice from your custody solicitor as appeals are rarely granted.

To assist your residency application, there are several things you can do:

  • Know your parental rights and ensure you have parental responsibility.
  • Show willingness to cooperate and attend mediation sessions.
  • Prepare yourself and take interest in the process.
  • Appoint a specialist and respected custody solicitor.
  • Keep to the terms of your interim agreement, be punctual and do not cancel.
  • Be involved with your children’s lives and ensure they have contact with their extended family.
  • Do what is asked of you by the courts.
  • Remain civil with your ex-partner, do not speak negatively or share details of your divorce proceedings.
  • Be punctual and presentable at all court hearings

Joint Residency and Standard Contact

Also known as a parenting partnership, a joint residency agreement sees both parents sharing time with their children equally between them. This same principle applies to decisions about their children’s life including education, health and religion.  A joint residency agreement should be offered up for discussion during collaborative law sessions with your custody solicitor or within mediation. It is not uncommon for older children to be a party to these discussions, sharing their views on where they’d like to live. When ex-partners remain geographically close to one another, these agreements are much easier to establish as your children’s school and social life remain mostly unaffected.

Divorces in England, more commonly, agree on a Standard Contract. Within this agreement, one parent is the primary resident parent and contact is agreed to allow for the other parent’s access. The rights over their children’s parenting are the same, regardless of how much time each parent is allocated.

Unusual Circumstances

Sometimes child custody and residency arrangements have other parties involved. If an unmarried parent passes away, then other family members may seek residency or shared residency. While the other biological parent will retain parental responsibility, if the child has not seen this parent and has a close bond with the other member of their family, an unusual circumstance application can be made.

Child Custody and Domestic Violence

If you are experiencing domestic abuse and are at risk of harm from your partner, or your child is experiencing child abuse at their hands, our custody solicitors can make your case to remove another parent’s parental responsibility. In these instances, we can help raise allegations of domestic violence and child abuse, leading to this person being deemed an unfit parent.

Mediation For Child and Children Custody

It is common for divorcing and separating parents to disagree over their child arrangements with so many heightened emotions. However, family mediation is a cooperative legal option that can help you reach an agreement without going to court. With a third-party mediator, you and your ex-partner can discuss your options, allowing you both to voice your preferences and concerns without the additional strain of a court setting. At Cartwright King, we can help you come to an agreement amicably through mediation sessions. For more information, contact us today.

Helping You Get Child Arrangements Right

The key to getting arrangements right for your children is to put their needs first. This will require you to set aside your differences with your ex, which we know can be difficult, for the sake of your kids.  We’re here to support you in coming to an agreement with your former partner on what’s best for your children.

Our first aim is to try and keep the matter out of the courts to avoid any further emotional distress for all involved. For that to work, you should think about the following questions:

  • How much time do you have available to care for your children?
  • Is your home close enough to your children’s school and their friends?
  • What changes could occur as children get older?

If you and your ex can agree on your answers to these questions, it could go a long way toward the two of you reaching an agreement. 

However, we appreciate that this isn’t always possible, especially when emotions are running high. Should you be unable to reach an agreement with your former partner, however you decide to proceed, Cartwright King is committed to your cause, offering you honest, sound legal advice every step of the way. 

Instruct a Cartwright King child custody solicitor

You want a child custody solicitor that puts the welfare of your children first. No matter how complex your situation, instructing Cartwright King gives you access to start to finish legal support. We will partner with you to deliver the best outcome for you and your children.

It all starts with a free consultation*, which gives you the opportunity to share your circumstances, get to know us and for us to get to know you. This gives you complete peace of mind that our legal services are right for you. 

To get the ball rolling, call or email us today and we will contact you.

*Please note that our free consultation is a ‘get to know you’ call. No advice will be given on this call.

Legal Fees

Your legal fees will depend on the case itself. If a voluntary agreement can be reached, avoiding the courts will keep your legal costs down. Fixed fees are also available depending on your case.

To discuss your fees in further detail, please call us, or email your enquiry.

Why Appoint Our Child Custody Solicitors?

Finding a child custody solicitor you trust is a crucial part of your divorce process. By appointing a solicitor who listens to you, you can rest assured your best interests are protected. At Cartwright King, our team of child custody solicitors are accredited by Legal 500 and The Law Society for their top-quality legal knowledge and service.

Let our experts take away the stress of your child custody dispute; without any legal jargon, we can keep you up-to-date with every step of the process, acting on your behalf ethically and responsibly. With our emotional distance, we are able to protect your and your family’s best interest, achieving an agreement that suits everyone’s well-being.

We're here for you.

Frequently asked questions.

What is a child arrangement order?

A Child Arrangement Order is the final decision of the court to determine where a child lives and who a child can have contact with. Although this is often referred to as child custody or residence, it is formally known as ‘child arrangements’.

What is child contact and access?

Contact refers to the time children spend with a parent they do not live with. Contact can be direct, such as face-to-face meetings, or in-direct, such as telephone calls and letters. It can also be supervised, for instance, another family member or friend may need to be there, or non-supervised.

How can Cartwright King’s child custody solicitors help me resolve child contact issues?

In child contact issues, regular contact with both parents is accepted as in children’s best interest. A regular routine that suits both parties and the child is the ideal arrangement. Again this can be formalised in a Child Arrangements Order.

Our lawyers will help you come to a voluntary agreement, however, if you are not able to reach an agreement then the court can impose a Child Arrangements Order (previously called a Contact Order). This will detail the exact contact the non-resident parent can have. This will include days spent with the non-resident parents at the weekend or in the week.

What is child abduction?

Child abduction is when a person takes or sends a child under the age of 16 out of the UK without the permission of those with parental responsibility or permission from the court. 

It is important to note that if a person has a Child Arrangement Order for a child to live with them, they will not be acting unlawfully if the child is taken or sent out of the UK for up to 28 days without the appropriate consent.

Should I hire a solicitor for child custody?

A relationship breakdown can make it difficult for parents to come to an agreement over issues relating to children. Our child custody solicitors will always aim to help parents come to a voluntary agreement that works for all parties. 

However, if this is not possible, we can support you in obtaining a Child Arrangement Order from the courts. Legal proceedings can be frustrating and complex. If you do need to go to court, you should seek expert legal advice from an experienced child custody solicitor.

Will I have to go to court?

The law prefers to see voluntary agreements rather than court-imposed settlements. Therefore, the courts will generally only become involved where both parents cannot reach a suitable arrangement. 

If this is the case, the court can impose a Child Arrangements Order (previously called a Contact Order). This will detail the exact contact the non-resident parent can have. This will include days spent with the non-resident parents at the weekend or in the week.

The family court is where a family judge can make a number of orders to resolve the issues when both parents cannot agree to a compromise.

The order that can be made is a Child Arrangement Order, which now covers the previous orders a court could make which were:

  • Parental responsibility orders
  • Supervised, Staying, Visiting or Defined contact orders
  • Specific Issue orders

What happens if I was never married or in a civil partnership?

Unmarried parents have the same rights as any married parent as long as you have parental responsibility. For those within a civil partnership, contact our specialist custody solicitors if you are concerned about your parental rights.

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