Children Law

Children Law Solicitors in Romford, Essex

Our children are one of the most important parts of our lives. We know that making decisions regarding the welfare of your children is especially difficult when you are separated from the other parent or do not agree with the other person or people caring for your children.

Often parents or carers will not be able to agree on a way forward, and this could result in hostility. You need expert advice on the best way to handle your family’s situation, which is something our team are happy to provide.

At F. Barnes, our family department specialises in Children Law. Our team consists of solicitors with a wealth of experience in all manners of child related proceedings, meaning we can provide quick, trustworthy advice on your rights, your children’s rights and what you need to do to protect them.

We offer a 30-minute free initial consultation to understand your requirements and advise you on how we can help, including the likely costs involved.

Our child law expertise includes:

We regularly assist parents (whether the biological parent or not), grandparents and others in disputes regarding the following:

  • Child arrangements for children to live with you (previously known as Residence and Shared Residence or custody)
  • Child arrangements for spending time with children (previously known as Contact or access)
  • Parental responsibility
  • Specific issues (relates to particular problems, i.e. changing/selecting schools, consenting/opposing medical treatment, children’s surnames, moving abroad etc.)
  • Prohibited Steps Orders (preventing another person from using their parental responsibility, e.g. taking the child from a caregiver)
  • Special Guardianship Orders
  • Wardship and Inherent Jurisdiction

What our child law solicitors can offer you:

Our first aim is to try to reach an agreement without the need of issuing Court proceedings wherever appropriate. In many cases, disputes over children can be resolved amicably with the right early advice and support from a skilled legal expert.

However, this is unfortunately not always possible. If the matter needs to proceed to Court, our clients will take comfort in knowing that F. Barnes child law solicitors have extensive experience in family court proceedings with a reputation for fiercely defending our clients’ interests and those of their children.

This is not something many other firms can offer as most do not have much experience with contentious family court proceedings in relation to children. Our record of success in Court proceedings means we have an in-depth understanding of both sides and exactly what is needed to secure the best available outcome for each case.

Our team has dealt with proceedings in a variety of Courts up and down the Country in all manners of hearing types, including Dispute Resolution Hearings, Directions, Fact Findings, Interim Contested Hearings, Final Hearings and Appeals.

In some cases, time is of the essence, and we need to act urgently. In such cases, we are able to issue proceedings and be at Court within a few hours.

Contact our child law solicitors in Essex

You can contact us during our office hours of 9am-5pm at your local branch in Romford, Gidea Park or Collier Row by giving us a call on:

Alternatively, contact us at any hour of the day by filling in our online enquiry form, and we will get in touch.

We endeavour to return all enquiries the same or next working day, and you will be able to speak to someone within our Family Law team straightaway.

Our children law services

Child arrangements for children to live with you

Where children will live following the separation of their parents needs to be decided as quickly as possible to give children a sense of stability and certainty over their future. This was previously often referred to as ‘child custody’ or ‘residence’, but these terms are no longer used officially.

It is now common for parents to agree voluntarily where children will live and for them to spend some time living with each parent. However, if an amicable agreement cannot be reached, or one parent feels the other is not suitable to have the children stay with them, then this may need to be decided by a Court through applying for a Child Arrangements Order.

F. Barnes child law solicitors can assist with negotiating arrangements for where children will live or applying for Child Arrangements Orders.

Child arrangements for spending time with children

It may be necessary to make arrangements for what time children will spend with each parent, separate from their living arrangements. This might be where children are only or primarily living with one parent or where there are specific, regular times that the children will spend with one parent on days they are living with the other parent. This was previously often referred to as ‘contact’ or ‘access’.

How the children will spend time with each parent can be agreed upon voluntarily between parents, or it can be included in a Child Arrangements Order issued by a Court.

Our team can help you come to an amicable arrangement on spending time with children or assist with applying for Child Arrangements Orders where required.

Parental responsibility

Parental responsibility is an important legal concept when it comes to the care of children. It refers to the legal right to be involved in decisions about your children, as well as your responsibility to provide for them. Some people, such as birth mothers, will automatically have parental responsibility, while in other cases, this may need to be agreed upon or granted by a Court.

If you do not have parental responsibility for a child, you can obtain this by agreement with everyone who already has parental responsibility for the child or through applying to a Court for a Parental Responsibility Order.

Our child law solicitors can help with voluntarily agreeing to grant parental responsibility as well as with making applications for Parental Responsibility Orders.

Specific issues

Over time, the need may arise to make decisions about particular issues related to a child’s upbringing, e.g. over what school they attend, what medical treatment they receive, changing children’s surnames and moving abroad.

If parents are unable to agree on how these issues should be resolved, it may be necessary to apply to a Court for a Specific Issue Order which will provide a decision on what should happen.

We can help you to negotiate how specific issues should be resolved or support you in applying for a Specific Issue Order where appropriate.

Prohibited Steps Orders

Where there are concerns about the actions or potential actions of a parent or other person with parental responsibility for a child, it may be necessary to apply to a Court for a Prohibited Steps Order. This will prevent the person with parental responsibility from taking specific actions, e.g. taking the child from a caregiver or taking them out of the country.

Our child law solicitors are experienced in applying for Prohibited Steps Orders, so they can help you to get one in place quickly. We can also advise on opposing a Prohibited Steps Order if you feel one has been granted in error.

Special Guardianship Orders

Where a child’s parents are unable or unsuitable to continue caring for them, it may be necessary for a Court to issue a Special Guardianship Order placing the child into the long-term care of someone other than their parents.

The person who a child is placed with in a Special Guardianship Order is known as their ‘Special Guardian’ and will have parental responsibility for the child. The Special Guardian does not have to consult the parents or anyone else who previously had parental responsibility about the decisions they make, although the parents may still be allowed contact with their children and their opinion may sometimes be sought, depending on the circumstances.

Our team have specific experience with Special Guardianship Orders, so we can advise on applications, opposing an application and what it means for parents once a Special Guardianship Order has been granted.

Wardship and Inherent Jurisdiction

Inherent Jurisdiction is a power held by the High Court which allows the Court to take actions to protect children in cases whether other options available to the Court are considered inadequate. One option the High Court can use is to make a child a ‘Ward of the Court’, meaning the High Court becomes their supreme legal guardian.

Under a Wardship, an individual or local authority may still remain in control of the day-to-day care of a child, but the High Court will have the ultimate authority over any decisions made about the child and their upbringing.

Wardship and Inherent Jurisdiction are complicated legal concepts with which few firms have specialist experience. The child law solicitors at F. Barnes have represented various clients in relation to these matters, so they can provide seasoned advice and legal support for parents and other interested parties.

Our child law advice fees

We offer a free 30-minute interview so we can get to know your requirements and provide advice about our legal fees.

Where possible, we will quote fixed fees, allowing you full certainty over how much your case will cost with us. However, we can provide tailored information about our flexible funding options when you contact us.

Unfortunately, we are unable to take on legal aid funded child law cases.

Contact our child law solicitors in Essex

Get in touch with our friendly child law solicitors to talk about how we can help you.

You can contact us during our office hours of 9am-5pm at your local branch in Romford, Gidea Park or Collier Row by giving us a call on:

Alternatively, contact us at any hour of the day by filling in our online enquiry form, and we will get in touch.

We endeavour to return all enquiries the same or next working day, and you will be able to speak to someone within our Family Law team straightaway.