Child Disputes

Wherever possible we refer child disputes to mediation. Where that is not possible or inappropriate, we try to effect an agreement, even if this still requires a court order by consent to give clarity for the parties’ and their children.

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young goslings with their goose grass village min | penny raby co

Navigating Child Contact and Residence Disputes in Court

Where there is a dispute, applications in relation to contact and residence of children are dealt with under S.8 of the Children Act 1989. The social services or even the police, may be involved if there is any suggestion of harm or abuse. Most cases are settled after the court welfare services (called the children and family court, advisory and support services – known as CAFCASS) consider the application from both parties, interview them, and perhaps the children, and make recommendations to the court for future arrangements.

However, some parents refuse to cooperate with CAFCASS or even the court order for contact, and a trial to effect a detailed court order with a timetable for contact is decided by the court after considering the submissions and evidence of both parties, the CAFCASS officer, and sometimes witnesses.

Court orders for contact and residence contain a warning notice detailing penalties, in the event of non-compliance which can be invoked, if enforcement is needed.

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Case Study

Our client the mother wished to move nearer her family with the children, which the father strongly opposed. He was not able to offer care for the children himself save at weekends and holidays and wished to place the children with a nanny while he had them 50% of the time. The court accepted our submission that the children should not lose time with their mother to be placed with a third party and the mother succeeded in her application to move out of the area.   

Our client the father was alarmed to discover that his estranged wife had taken their son for a painful and unusual yellow fever vaccination, which would only be necessary if she intended to move to an exotic destination like the Ivory Coast in Africa where she had business, financial and social contacts. We achieved a Prohibited Steps Order and Passport Order stopping the Wife from taking the child out of England & Wales and forcing her to surrender the child’s 2 passports to our safekeeping pending a final Child Arrangement Order.  

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“Dear Penny, Mike & team, thank you all very much for your help & support over the past year.”

– Kerry