We’re committed to defending the rights of children and their families.
Care proceedings are always started by your Local Authority (council) if they have any concerns about the safety or wellbeing of your children. You automatically qualify for Legal Aid for care proceedings, which means you do not have to pay for us to represent you, it is free. We help families understand what’s happening at every stage, and more importantly we’ll guide you every step of the way. Our specialist team are able to attend court at short notice to represent you. If your family is involved with the Local Authority, please do not hesitate to contact Charlotte, Yvonne or Sarah, who will put you at ease and arrange for you to attend an appointment at our office to answer all your questions. Yvonne, Charlotte and Sarah are also specialists dealing with unbiased agencies such as CAFCASS.
Social Services Involvement
If social services have been in touch we can help you in all situations. These include:
- Child Protection Conference or Child in Need Meetings
If the Local Authority becomes concerned about the care you are providing your children you may receive a visit from a social worker asking you to attend a Child Protection Conference or a Child in Need Meeting. You may be able to receive Legal Aid, which means that it may be free for us to help you. This decision is based on your income. If you have been asked to attend one of these meetings please get in touch with Charlotte, Yvonne or Sarah today, we’re here to help.
- PLO’s – If the Local authority are concerned about the care being given to your children, they may send you a letter called a “Pre Proceedings Letter” or “PLO Letter”. This is like a ‘Final Warning’ to improve the care provided before they may consider care proceedings. You will be asked to attend a meeting.
You automatically qualify for Legal Aid for PLO Letters and meetings which means you do not have to pay for us to represent you, it is free. If you have received this letter get in touch with Charlotte, Yvonne or Sarah today and we will guide you through the next steps and be right at your side.
When a relationship breaks down, if arrangements for the children are agreed between the parents then no further action needs to be taken. If the parents cannot however agree on the arrangements, you can make an application to the court to determine who the child lives with and how much time they spend with the other parent. The law relating to children can also be used for specific purposes such as:-
- Permission to take a child to live in a different country;
- Preventing the other parent from doing something such as relocating with the child- whether that be in this Country or not;
- Deciding on a specific issue such as where the child should go to school for example.
If you are an unmarried father and your name is not on your child’s birth certificate or the child was born before 1st December 2003 you do not automatically have the rights and obligations of a parent to make decisions for that child. This can, however, be changed in a number of ways, including if you have entered into a formal agreement with the child’s mother or by an Order of the Court granting you those rights. Disagreements in relation to children, do not only apply to the parents, but can apply to Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles and other family members who are being prevented from having a relationship with the child. We are able to assist in all matters relating to children, including preparing any necessary applications to Court and representing you at any Court hearings.
We can provide services to clients who may be eligible for legal aid. If you believe you may be eligible for legal aid, we’ll assess your financial circumstance and let you know quickly if we can assist you with a legal aid application.
We also provide a full range of children-related advice and assistance to all families and individuals who may not be eligible for any form of public funding. We have a highly experienced team that can act quickly and decisively in this challenging area of the law. Challenging for parents, for their lawyers and also for the Courts. However we have the training and on-the-ground experience to assist with all of the following in the most difficult of circumstances:
- Child Arrangement Orders – who your child will live with and how much time and contact the other parent may have and in which circumstances;
- Specific issue orders – where your child goes to school, or whether they should study certain subjects, such as religious education
- Change of Name – always contentious but a decision of importance;
- Parental Responsibility – Who has legal rights and challenging any restrictions;
- Prohibited Steps Order – preventing a parent from doing something;
We have specialists who can cover all of the areas above. You may not know which category your particular issue falls into – call us – we’ll help to direct you to the right person.
Legal Aid is a payment from public funds via the government, in cases of need to pay for legal proceedings. For areas of law around children, legal aid is often available. For certain areas of law you will automatically qualify these are:
- Care Proceedings
- Pre Proceedings
Other areas where you may be eligible based on your income and personal circumstances. Please get in touch for further clarification.
- Domestic Abuse
- Family Law
- Child Protection
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