Children Disputes Solicitors

Disputes between parents and relations over children can be painful. They should be resolved as soon as possible for the benefit of all involved, especially the youngsters concerned.

We are family law specialists accredited by Resolution and can advise on all child related disputes. We can also advise on the appropriateness of referring the dispute to a mediator and deal with negotiation of child arrangements on your behalf. If required, we represent parents and grandparents within Court proceedings.

The best interests of the child or children should be at the forefront of any decision-making process; however, specific child-related issues, such as, where they shall live, or how much time or otherwise have contact with any person can be resolved by the Family Court by applying for a Child Arrangements Order.  We aim to provide a service and solutions that are compassionate, appropriate and above all child-focused..

Court proceedings can usually involve applications for Parental Responsibility Orders, Child Arrangements Order. However, we also advise and represent parents on applications to the Court for Prohibited Steps Orders (e.g. to prevent one parent taking the child abroad) and Specific Issue Orders (e.g. the change of a child's surname, approve medical treatment, education, religious upbringing, etc).

On the 22nd April 2014, it became compulsory to attend a Family Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAMS) before making a family application to the Court. 

The Children and Families Act 2014 did not introduce and automatic entitlement to 'shared parenting'.  There is no parental 'right' to any particular amount of time with a child.  The Act instead refers to the importance of children having an ongoing relationship with both their parents after family separation, where that is safe, and is in their best interests.......a meaningful relationship is not about equal division of time, but the quality of parenting received.

There is a presumption that a child will benefit by retaining contact both parents and that contact should take place unless it can be shown to be detrimental to their welfare.  A parent opposing contact must show good reason as to why an Order should not be made.

Parental Responsibility

The mother of a child at its birth automatically acquires parental responsibility (PR).

A father can acquire PR in the following ways:-

  • Marriage to the mother (at any time).
  • Both parents entering into a Parental Responsibility Agreement.
  • Court order.
  • For a child born after 1 December 2003, the father will automatically acquire parental responsibility if with the mothers consent he is named as father on the birth certificate.

A step parent, may, following recent changes in the law, also acquire PR with the agreement of those with it already or otherwise by court order. However, it is always worth bearing in mind any person with PR may delegate it to another at any time. This can be done by a simple letter to evidence this and is often used for grandparents acting as child minders.

Key Parental Responsibilities

A person with PR has all the rights, responsibility and obligations for the upbringing of the child. If there is more than one person with PR, there is a duty upon them to consult on any issue concerning a child's upbringing which in the event of dispute may require an application be made to the Court for a Specific Issue Order.

Key roles include:-

  • Providing a suitable home
  • Having contact with/living with the child
  • Protecting and maintaining the child
  • Disciplining and providing for the child's education
  • Determining the religious upbringing (if any)
  • Agreeing to medical treatment
  • Naming the child/agreeing to any change of name
  • Accompanying the child outside the United Kingdom/agreeing to the child's emigration should the issue arise
  • Being responsible for the child's property
  • Appointing a guardian if necessary (for example in a will)
  • Allowing confidential information to be disclosed

Child Abduction Cases

The removal of a child out of the United Kingdom with the intent this be permanent is a criminal offence under the Child Abduction Act 1984 if done without the consent of any other person with parental responsibility or otherwise than with the permission of the Court. A person with a Residence Order may not remove a child from the United Kingdom for more than a month without the permission of the Court or otherwise with the written consent of all other persons with parental responsibility.

Child Taken Abroad

If you believe your child may be immediately removed from the UK (i.e. within 48 hours) you should contact the police and request they institute an "All Ports Alert". A photograph of the child assists.

In all child related matters, the welfare of the child is paramount. There are numerous specific factors taken into account in the Court's overall discretion as well as all the circumstances of the case.

Get in touch

Contact the team at Clough & Willis today to discuss your situation in more detail. With offices in Bury and Bolton, we are easily accessible and can provide the expert guidance you need. Either call us on 0800 083 0815 or complete our online enquiry form on the side of this page and we will be in touch.

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What Our Clients Say

I am so pleased with how Mr Macwilliam handled my case. He was extremely helpful and patient with us. I would recommend him 100% to anyone who needed a solicitor.

Mr Ashfaq

We used Clough & Willis because we believe Chris Macwilliam is the best solicitor in his field within the Bury area possibly within the Manchester / North West area. We would highly recommend Clough & Willis to family and friends.

Mr Smith

I would like to say I am extremely grateful to all at Clough & Willis. I enjoyed the fact that I could ring at any point and speak to Mr Macwilliam and always be given his full co-operation and time. I was never rushed to finish the call! I would also like to add, Mr Macwilliam kept me so up to date with my case, I always felt in the loop, I almost felt like I was the only client and felt the service was very personnel! Thank you and all the best!

Ms Broadbent-Davies

I greatly appreciated Mr Macwilliam's handling of my claim. His expertise made the whole process so easy for me and I am highly satisfied with the outcome. Many thanks.

Mr Addy

Christopher Macwilliam was excellent throughout my claim. He listened carefully and always kept me up to date. Everything was handled in a highly professional manner and I cannot speak highly enough of Chris and the company as a whole.

Mr Saunders

Mr Macwilliam has been very patient as my husband is dyslexic, some things needed explaining a few times and in other ways so Alan could understand. The interim payments were a huge help while the claim was going through.

Mrs Bonney

I was pleased with the professional and efficient manner with which my claim was dealt with. It was an unusual claim / incident but Mr Macwilliam put time and effort into understanding the dental side of the issue. I am very pleased with the outcome.

Mrs Johnson

Mr Macwilliam dealt with my case exactly how I had hoped. He was extremely professional throughout and always kept me up to date with the progress that was being made.

Mr Leech

I am writing to express our gratitude for all your hard work in securing a very good payment for the accident.

Mrs Plaskett

This was the second occasion that Chris Macwilliam has helped me to settle a problem. I have always found him to be very professional, patient and an extremely good listener. If I require the services of a solicitor in the future I would definitely contact Clough & Willis. I have recommended the firm on numerous occasions.

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I was very happy with the service I received at Clough & Willis. Everything was explained clearly and patiently and each request I made was dealt with efficiently. I am happy with my outcome and would definitely recommend them to friends.

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