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Child Law Solicitors

Matters involving children are often highly sensitive and emotive, but it is essential to get them right. This is in your children’s best interests and yours as a parent. At Harrowells, our child law experts provide clear advice and guidance no matter your circumstances.

Maintaining a positive relationship with your ex-partner is usually highly beneficial and desirable when you share children together. Unfortunately, children are often at the forefront of disputes between ex-partners.

The right approach is really important when dealing with issues around your children. While it is sometimes best to work collaboratively with your ex-partner to avoid conflict, you need to be confident that your children’s wellbeing is safeguarded and that so is your relationship with them.

Our child law solicitors are focused on providing the best support possible no matter the situation, having worked with clients from all backgrounds over the years. With decades of combined expertise in both straightforward and complex child law cases, we can offer tried-and-tested solutions for even the most challenging situations.

Our skill and professionalism are recognised through a number of awards and accreditations, including the Legal 500, an independent annual assessment of the top law firms in the UK.

We have also received Lexcel accreditation from the Law Society. This demonstrates our exceptional client care and management of our legal practice.

Contact our expert child law solicitors

We are physically based in Yorkshire, but we regularly assist clients throughout England and Wales because of our recognised expertise and effectiveness in advising on all aspects of family law.

We are very happy to hold a meeting with you by phone or video call, so please email advice@harrowells.co.uk to set up a meeting.

For more locally based clients, we can meet you at one of our network of offices across North and East Yorkshire in York, St SaviourgateClifton MoorHaxbyEasingwold, Thirsk, Pocklington or Malton.

Our child law services

Negotiating child arrangements

Deciding arrangements for your child or children following a divorce or separation can be difficult, particularly when both parents are likely to have different views on what should happen. Issues that must be resolved include where their child will live, how much time they should be entitled to with their child and the type of contact they should have.

Where possible strategic approaches are often the best step forward for child law matters, but we recognise this is not always possible or appropriate for the situation. Their wellbeing is our primary concern, and ensuring your relationship with them is not tarnished.

Child Arrangements Orders

Not all child arrangement situations are resolved easily in a friendly and agreeable way. Where this unfortunately occurs, our solicitors can assist you in applying to court for a child arrangement order.

We can help you prepare for the hearing. This includes organising a strong persuasive argument and stating your views and desires, which should be supported by robust evidence. The court will take into consideration a number of factors, including the wishes of your child. Our solicitors will work proactively to obtain an outcome that is in favour of your wishes and ensures your best interests are protected.

Changing children’s surname following divorce

When parents divorce, it’s often the case that children’s surnames will remain the same, but in certain circumstances, one parent may feel inclined to change their child’s surname to match their own. This can sometimes cause disputes between parents, meaning additional assistance is required.

Parents can seek assistance through the court, by obtaining a specific issue order, allowing the parent to change the child’s surname without the other parent’s consent.

You can read more information on how our solicitors can assist with this on our change of name page.

Parental responsibility

Not all parents have parental responsibility depending on the family dynamics and circumstances. But it is possible to obtain parental responsibility, either through agreement with the other parent or by a court order.

Whether you need a parental responsibility agreement or court order, our child law solicitors can provide practical advice and guidance. When you instruct the Harrowells team, you can be confident our solicitors will tirelessly fight your corner, with the main aim to achieve the outcome you desire.

Parental alienation

Parental alienation can be a devastating matter for all involved and specifically the impacted parent. Simply speaking, parental alienation is defined as when one parent turns their child against the other parent, often severing the parent-child relationship. Acting sooner rather than later is critical to prevent the issue from escalating further.

Our solicitors recognise how complex cases of parental alienation can be and want to restore your parent-child relationship as quickly as possible. Our solicitors have aided many impacted parents, and we will provide advice on steps to resolving the issue. This could be by obtaining a child arrangement order.

Grandparents’ rights

A parent’s relationship with their own parents or in-laws can mean the relationship between child and grandparent is severed, but grandparents do not have any automatic rights to see their grandchild. Despite this, there is a legal process for obtaining this right.

At Harrowells, we understand the importance of the role grandparents have in their grandchild’s life and want to ensure this is not restrictive. We can assist in sorting out an appropriate arrangement that allows you to have contact with your grandchild, whether this is through tactical methods or obtaining an order through court proceedings. 

Taking children abroad

Whether a parent wants to take their child on holiday or to relocate to a foreign country, they must have the consent from every individual who has parental responsibility for the child.

Our solicitors have assisted many parents with either prohibiting or granting the child to be taken abroad. We can assist you in making an agreement without facing court proceedings, but if required can assist in applying for a specific issue order or prohibited steps order.

Prohibited Steps Orders

Parents can often have disagreements about what they would like to happen concerning their children, and these can often become quickly heated. Prohibited steps orders are there to prevent parents from carrying out certain actions.

Our solicitors can help you apply to court for a prohibited steps order, and if you are in an urgent situation where you believe your child’s other parent could take drastic action, we can help you apply to the court for an emergency prohibited steps order.

Our child law solicitors have expertise in preventing:

  • Changing children’s surnames
  • The child from moving school or nursery
  • The child from relocating
  • The child from travelling abroad

Our child law solicitors’ fees

At the outset, we will discuss the various potential issues and the options available. We will explain our fees and set out our estimate of costs based on those discussions. Funding options will be discussed and agreed upon to ensure our fees will be affordable to you.

Please note: Harrowells is unable to offer legal aid.

Child law explained

Who gets custody of children in divorce?

‘Child custody’ is a term that is no longer generally used as it does not reflect the reality of how child arrangements usually work these days. It is now most common for parents to share care of their children, with the children spending some time at each parent’s home.

Child arrangements are usually agreed voluntarily between parents through negotiation or mediation. However, if an agreement cannot be reached, you may need to apply to a court for a Child Arrangements Order.

How are child arrangements made?

Child arrangements can be made through a number of ways. There are a number of alternative dispute resolution methods available, such as private negotiation or mediation, which are done outside of court, in a relaxing environment.

If court is necessary for the situation, the child arrangement will be decided by a judge after taking into consideration several factors. They will make the decision in what they believe is in the best interest of the child.

Will I need to go to court to decide where my children will live?

You will usually not have to go to court to decide where your child lives. It is possible to amicably decide child arrangements between yourselves, with advice and guidance from a legal advisor. Where you cannot find an outcome you are both satisfied with, court may be the most appropriate solution.

Do I need a solicitor for child arrangements?

While you do not legally have to have a solicitor, it is highly recommended to seek a solicitor to assist with your child arrangement matter, whether this is done privately or in court.

A solicitor can help to ensure you fully understand your rights and give you the best chance of achieving an amicable agreement with your ex-partner. If court proceedings are needed, it is essential to have expert legal support to make sure your case is prepared and presented effectively.

Can you take children abroad without both parents’ consent?

Where both parents have parental responsibility and there is no specific issue order stating the child can be taken abroad, then both parents must provide consent.

How does domestic violence affect child custody?

It is unlikely that a parent who has a history of domestic abuse is going to receive care of their child. The courts take into consideration many aspects when deciding a child arrangement order, including the welfare of the child.

Child law insights from Harrowells

To learn more about how our Harrowells solicitors can help with child law matters, see our recent blog posts:

Contact our friendly, expert child law solicitors

We are very happy to hold a meeting with you by phone or video call, so please email advice@harrowells.co.uk to set up a meeting.

For more locally based clients, we can meet you at one of our network of offices across North and East Yorkshire in York, St SaviourgateClifton MoorHaxbyEasingwold, Thirsk, Pocklington or Malton.