Child Arrangements – How can we help?Pepperells
Here at Pepperells Solicitors, we understand that disputes over where a child should live and how much time a child should spend with either parent can be a challenging and emotional time.
There are various ways in which we can help.
The initial step is to negotiate with the opposing party with the hope of reaching an agreement that is in the best interests of the child
An advantage to Negotiation is that the parties remain in control of any agreement reached and the terms of such agreement (as opposed to Court proceedings).
If an agreement is reached, this can be drawn up in a consent Order and can be sent to the Court for consideration and approval. This is known as a Child Arrangements Order by consent.
If negotiations have proved unsuccessful, Pepperells can assist you with making a referral to Mediation. Mediation is where two or more individuals, with a common interest, seek to reach an agreement with the assistance of an independent mediator.
Attending mediation is a step which must be explored before any application is made to the Court, unless one of the exemptions apply, such as if a party can evidence that they have been a victim or are at risk of Domestic Abuse.
Importantly, a mediator will not force a decision on the parties themselves but will seek to find common ground between the parties.
Once you have attended mediation, your Mediator will fill in a MIAM Slip (Mediation and Information Assessment Meeting Slip) to confirm your attendance.
Only once you have explored mediation can an application to Court be made.
Child Arrangements Order
If negotiation and mediation prove unsuccessful, Pepperells can assist you by making an application to Court for a Child Arrangements Order under Section 8 Children Act 1989. An Order of this nature can determine where a child should live and who they should spend time with.
Any decisions made by the Court will be underpinned by what they believe to be in the Child’s best interests.
When such an application is made, a body called CAFCASS (Child and Family Court Advisory and Support Service) will conduct safeguarding checks on the parties. They will contact the Police, Children Services and both parties to ascertain their views and wishes. Their findings are then given to the Court and the parties in the form of a letter, known as a Schedule 2 letter.
The Court is not bound by the recommendations but they are heavily persuasive on the Court. If matters cannot be resolved at the first hearing, further hearings may be listed to assess contact arrangements going forward.
Pepperells Solicitors acknowledge that disputes over children can put strain on many families. Our team of experts can assist with resolving matters in an efficient and friendly manner.
Please make use of our Live online chat at www.pepperells.com or alternatively you can call our team at any of our five offices Hull, Scunthorpe, Grimsby, Lincoln or Beverley.
Adam Glentworth – Family Law Team