Child Arrangements

When a relationship breaks down often one of the most contentious issues is the arrangements for any minor children of the family. Any disagreements often cause significant distress and anxiety to parents and can in turn impact negatively on the children. It is important to ensure these issues are resolved as quickly as possible, minimising the emotional and financial cost for you.

Alternatives to Court

It is important to understand that the court does not always need to be involved and there can be effective alternatives to court applications such as mediation and collaborative law. Understanding your options early on, identifying the right path to resolution quickly and narrowing the issues so the opportunity to bring about an agreed resolution is not lost are all crucial.

Considerations if You Need a Court Order

In those cases where resolution by agreement is not possible it will be necessary to consider making an application to the court for an order to be made pursuant to the Children Act 1989. The orders the court can make include:

  • Child arrangements orders – we no longer refer to residence and contact but instead an order that determines with whom the child is to live and or spend time with
  • Prohibitive Steps Order – an order preventing a parent from taking certain action such as changing a child’s school or moving a child abroad
  • Specific Issue Order – dealing with a specific issue such as permission for a foreign holiday or to remove a child permanently to live abroad.

When deciding such applications the court’s paramount consideration will be the child’s welfare and there is a prescribed list of issues the court should consider when dealing with an application as listed below:

  • The children’s wishes and feelings having regard to their age and understanding
  • The needs of the child
  • The effect any change if circumstance is likely to have on the child
  • The age, background and any characteristics of the child which the court considers relevant
  • Any harm the child may suffer or be at risk of suffering and
  • Each parent’s ability to meet the child needs.

Grandparents and Extended Family

It is often assumed that other family members may be unable to see or spend time with children in the event of a relationship breakdown. This is not the case and the courts support children’s right to a relationship with not only their parents but also members of their extended family.

As specialist solicitors with significant experience dealing with such issues we are able to provide you with the best advice to ensure that you can make an informed decision about how you want to bring about a solution to the issue of the arrangements for your children.

Initial Fixed Fee Consultation

Come and talk to us. You’ll find us empathetic, keen to help and with a wealth of experience. We offer a fixed fee consultation of £120 for the first appointment. You will be advised on the options open to you and the possible outcomes. Our priority is to ensure that you have a clear understanding of the path ahead and the challenges involved in achieving your goals.

Barr Ellison Law Leading Legal 500 Firm 2024Barr Ellison Law has a small but highly esteemed family, divorce and wealth protection practice, led by Sarah Martin. Her work focuses predominantly on complex financial divorces, both UK and cross-border, and is highly regarded for her experience in private children matters. Associate Karen Anker has vast experience in financial matters, arrangements for children and relocation disputes. She also advises on also wealth protection, including pre- and post-marital agreements and cohabitation agreements. The team is praised for ‘the impeccable quality of their work and advice’.
Legal 500 Guide

‘Sarah Martin and Karen Anker provide a top class service at this firm. The quality of their work and advice is, in my view, impeccable.’

‘Sarah Martin really cares about her clients and she does in fact go the extra mile. She has complex work which she handles with real skill and diligence.’

‘A boutique team. Focus on holistic support of client when going through the process of litigation.’

‘Sarah Martin: thinking of every possible avenue a case could travel. Gives unrivalled level of support to clients. Clients always feel they have a team 100% on their side.’

‘A very experienced family team in Sarah Martin and Karen Anker. Both very well respected within the Cambridge family law community and beyond.’

‘Karen Anker is an exceptionally proactive, dedicated and extremely talented family lawyer/collaborative practitioner. Her quick mind, extensive legal knowledge and ability to think outside the box has led to her being respected as one of Cambridge’s finest collaborative practitioners. She will leave no stone unturned in pursuit of the best possible outcome for her clients.’

‘Sarah Martin is a knowledgeable, approachable and empathetic solicitor who is adept at calming any given situation. A versatile practitioner with a gentle manner that hides a steely focus to get the best for her clients.’

‘A very experienced family team in Sarah Martin and Karen Anker. Both very well respected within the Cambridge family law community and beyond.’