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Services / Family / Children Disputes

Children Disputes

When parents separate it is hoped that they will be able to agree the future arrangements for their children. If arrangements can be agreed then there is no need for any formal documentation to be put in place to record the agreement.

If it is not possible for an agreement to be reached then either parent could make an application to the court for an order that sets out the arrangements for the children. A Child Arrangements Order can set out who a child is to live with and when they will spend time with the other parent, including holiday periods.

Sometimes a court is asked to determine an issue such as which school a child should attend. This is called a Specific Issue Order.

On rare occasions the court may be asked to make a Prohibited Steps Order. This is an order telling a parent that they cannot do something that the court believes may result in a child being harmed in some way.

When a relationship breaks down both parents will often share parental responsibility for their children. Parental Responsibility is the legal title given to all of the rights, duties and powers that parents have in relation to their children. In practice it means that both parents have a right to be involved in the important decisions that may need to be made throughout a child’s life such as in relation to education or health. A mother automatically has parental responsibility. A father may acquire parental responsibility by being married to the child’s mother, being named on the child’s birth certificate (if the parents are not married), by entering into a parental responsibility agreement or by obtaining a parental responsibility order from the court.

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