Jeffrey Mills Solicitors can also make referrals to appropriate organisations such as mediation or family counselling, and can assist in negotiations with a view to reaching an amicable agreement. Sometimes it will be necessary for an application to be made to the Court for an Order, usually to deal with the issue of arrangements for the children. However, the court can also make orders to determine a specific issue, such as which school a child should attend (Specific Issue Order) or an order to stop a particular thing from happening.
Jeffrey Mills Solicitors knows that children are often at the forefront of the parents’ minds. We can advise on all issues regarding the children, such as
- Who they should live with
- Contact arrangements
- Parental responsibility
- Adoption and Fostering
- Child Welfare
Child Arrangements Orders
Often parents work out these arrangements between themselves, with or without the assistance of their solicitor or a mediator. When a decision is unable to be reached (married or unmarried couples), the court may intervene and a make a decision based on the child’s best interests.
The legal right to child support is possessed by a child for their proper care and upbringing, regardless of who actually receives child support payments. This means the Child Maintenance Service may order the “non-resident” parent (married, divorced or unmarried) to pay a certain portion of their income as child support. In circumstances where neither parent is looking after the child, the Child Maintenance Service may order them both to pay child support to a third party who is caring for their child. There are only exceptional circumstances where the court deals with this matter.
There are many ways to adopt a child including:
- Through an agency – public or private regulated agencies
- Independently – direct arrangement between birth parents and adoptive
- Identification – independently arranged but an agency controls the process
- Internationally – The most complicated as you have to satisfy two laws
- Step parents – a parents new spouse adopts the parents child
- Same-Sex couple – in the UK gay or lesbian single and same-sex couples have the same rights as heterosexual singles and couples
- Relative – A child’s relative steps forward to adopt
- Adult – Rare but often used where they have no children of their own, and want to secure inheritance for someone they are fond of
Paternity is the legal establishment of the identity of a child’s father. This can take place through DNA testing, often used in child support, custody, adoption and inheritance. Establishing paternity helps the mother enforce child support and/or reunite estranged fathers with their children.
Parental Rights and Responsibilities
Known as “parental responsibility”, all mothers and most fathers have legal rights and responsibilities as a parent. The most important tasks include providing a home and protecting and maintaining the child. If you have parental responsibility for a child you do not live with, you do not necessarily have a right to contact them – but the other parent must keep you updated with their well being and progress.
A “guardian” is someone who is chosen or appointed to make legal decisions for another person who is unable to make those decisions on their own. Often over a child or an individual who has become incapacitated through age or disability.
Foster care is a temporary measure, which can in some cases lead to adoption. Providing complete care and support for children who are without parents or legal guardians.
Surrogacy and Artificial Conception
Complicated procedures where the mother who gives birth to the child is always the mother of the child.
Making the decision to consult a family solicitor can be difficult and emotional.
At Jeffrey Mills Solicitors we are members of Resolution, which highlights our commitment to resolving disputes in a constructive and non-confrontational way for all family and domestic matters. At Jeffrey Mills Solicitors we recognise that any issues regarding children can be difficult and emotional, contact us for expert advice; where you and your priorities are put first.
Contact your specialist for advice.
Head of Family Law Department
Tel: 01480 219699