Family & Matrimonial | Children Act Proceedings
A difficult decision for separated couples is deciding what is in the best interests of their child. Parties are encouraged to discuss this directly or use services such as mediation. However, in some instances, an impasse is reached and court intervention is required.
The most common dispute is in relation to where the child will live and when they will spend time with the other party. This is known as a Child Arrangement Order. However, a wide range of other issues can arise. Specific issues, such as whether the child should be allowed to relocate with one of the parties to another party of the country, which school the child should attend, and what religion they should practice, are resolved with a Specific Issues Order. A Prohibited Steps order stops somebody from doing something with the child, for example, taking the child abroad if there is a concern that the child will not be returned.
The child’s welfare is the court’s paramount consideration when making its decision. Sometimes a Child and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS) officer is involved to be the "eyes and ears" of the court and report back.
Court proceedings can become quite protracted, so it is sensible to seek early advice to determine whether agreement can be reached through solicitor negotiation before embarking on court proceedings.