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FAQs on Child Law Issues

How to get court order for child custody in the UK?

An application for a Child Arrangements Order should be made to the Family Court most local to where the child resides.

If an agreement has been reached between the parties and you wish to have this made legally binding the application can be submitted with a consent order setting out the agreed terms.

If an agreement cannot be reached, a first hearing will be listed. The Judge will listen to the position of both parties and attempt to assist in reaching an agreement. If an agreement is not reached at the first hearing, the Judge will set out what steps need to be taken next in order to progress negotiations or provide further evidence to the Court so that a decision can be made at a subsequent hearing.

How to get a court order for child contact?

An application for a Child Arrangements Order should be made to the Family Court most local to where the child resides.

If an agreement has been reached between the parties and you wish to have this made legally binding the application can be submitted with a consent order setting out the agreed terms.

If an agreement cannot be reached, a first hearing will be listed. The Judge will listen to the position of both parties and attempt to assist in reaching an agreement. If an agreement is not reached at the first hearing, the Judge will set out what steps need to be taken next in order to progress negotiations or provide further evidence to the Court so that a decision can be made at a subsequent hearing.

When is a child classified as being ’at risk’?

A child is classified as being ‘at risk’ when they are risk of harm whether emotional, physical, sexual, mental or psychological or that they have suffered harm already. If there is a significant risk then Children’s Services will be involved. The child may be on a child in need plan, a child protection plan or the subject of Care Proceedings in order to protect them and reduce that risk.

What is a Prohibited Steps Order?

A prohibited steps order is an order that prevents someone from taking a step without the specific consent of the Court in respect of a child. Examples including preventing someone from moving where the child lives, changing the child’s name, changing the child’s school or removing the child from the care of a specific individual. Any person can be subject to a Prohibited Steps Order even if they are not a party to Court proceedings.

Does a child attend Family Mediation sessions?

Not always. Generally, mediation is between the parents. However, some mediators are accredited in child inclusive mediation meaning that they can involve the child in the mediation process. This does not involve the children having the same equal status in negotiations as the parents do but the mediator meets with the child and ensures that their voice is heard within the mediation sessions.

How to agree Child Maintenance Payments.

This can be agreed between the parents directly. If an agreed figure is reached, then there is no need for any further input or guidance. If the parents cannot agree a suitable figure, then the child maintenance calculator can be used as a guide. This is the minimum figure that the paying parent would be assessed to pay if the parents cannot agree and an application to the Child Maintenance Service is made. This does not prevent a higher sum from being agreed.

How to get court order for child name change?

In order to change a child’s name, you will need either the written consent of everyone with parental responsibility for the child or to apply to the Court for a Specific Issue Order under section 8 of the Children Act 1989.

A Specific Issue Order allows the Court to decide whether the child’s name should be changed.

The Court is generally reluctant to authorise a change of surname unless it is in the interests of the child to do so.

The Court will take into consideration a number of factors such as the embarrassment to the child and parent of having different surnames, the child’s wishes, and the extent to which the child’s original surname is important to maintain links with the parent and other relations with whom he does not live.