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Who’s who in the Family Court

Relevance: 100%      Posted on: 17th June 2019

Judge A judge is the person who presides over (deals with) the proceedings. In the Family Court there are three levels of judges who are likely to hear your case. These are: Judges of the District Judge level – these are the judges that hear most family law cases. Judges of the Circuit Judge level – these judges are allocated cases which are considered to have additional complexity. They can also deal with some appeal cases. Magistrates – magistrates are ‘lay’ people from the community who have been recruited and trained to hear cases. They will not usually have a…

Family

Relevance: 100%      Posted on: 4th October 2015

Parental disputes Abduction Access to information Adoption (non-agency) Advocacy Child abuse Contact Domestic abuse Family mediation Legal aid for family law matters Legal aid if you have been a victim of domestic abuse Legal aid if your child is at risk of abuse Locating a child Parental responsibility Residence Special guardianship Travel and Relocation Testamentary guardianship Wardship Young people and medical treatment  Raising and caring for young people  Adoption Family and friends care Homelessness (16/17 year olds) Locating a child Parental Responsibility Private fostering Residence Section 20 Accommodation Special Guardianship Surrogacy Testamentary Guardianship Wardship Young carers Duties of Children’s Services   Advocacy…

Legal Aid for family law matters

Relevance: 99%      Posted on: 6th November 2015

This page provides information on getting help to pay for legal costs for family matters. It explains what legal aid is, when it is available and the type of help it covers. It also provides information on the evidence needed for legal aid in private disputes about arrangements for children.

Preparing for a Family Court hearing

Relevance: 98%      Posted on: 17th June 2019

The preparation will often be dependent on the type of hearing and the specific circumstances of the case in question. However, there are some general tips which can help a litigant in person prepare for an upcoming Family Court hearing. Appropriate arrangements for children It is not advisable to bring children to court and therefore parties should try to make alternative childcare arrangements. Court location Parties will often be required to attend the court 30 minutes or 1 hour in advance of the time that the hearing is listed to start. You do not want to be rushing around or…

Family mediation

Relevance: 98%      Posted on: 21st May 2015

This page explains the process of family mediation, when mediation is necessary and the expected standards of a family mediator.

Family and Friends Care

Relevance: 97%      Posted on: 16th July 2015

This page explains the law surrounding an arrangement where a child goes to live with a family member or friend and the obligations of the local authority to assess the carer for support and suitability.

Hearings in the Family Court

Relevance: 96%      Posted on: 15th September 2015

This page explains the different types of hearing that you might have in private family law cases, including the First Hearing Dispute Resolution Appointment, fact finding hearings and final hearings.

Type of Family Law Orders

Relevance: 96%      Posted on: 17th June 2019

Private Children Law Orders Type of order Description Application form Guidance form Costs Child Arrangements Order Section 8 Children Act 1989 A Child Arrangements Order decides the arrangements for whom a child is to live with, spend time with or otherwise have contact with and when a child is to live, spend time or otherwise have contact with any person. C100 CB1 £215 Child Arrangements Order (Consent Order) If an agreement can be reached regarding the arrangements for a whom a child is to live with and spend time with then a Consent Order can be applied for. Consent Orders…

Email advice: Family

Relevance: 95%      Posted on: 2nd August 2017

Please complete all relevant boxes on the contact form to ensure we provide you with the correct information. We strongly recommend providing as much relevant information as possible. We aim to respond to your message within 5 working days of receipt. Please note our working days are Monday to Friday. If we cannot assist due to the matter being outside of our scope, we will email and state why we cannot assist and attempt to refer you to another organisation. If we deem your matter too complex for advice via email, we will email to advise you of this and request that…

Attending court

Relevance: 12%      Posted on: 4th October 2015

A sample Child Arrangements Order Appeals Court Bundle Court etiquette Do I need a solicitor or barrister? Explaining the legality of a child arrangements order Family mediation Hearings in the Family Court Legal aid for family matters Litigation Friends Litigants in person Parenting plans Preparing for a family court hearing Seeking costs in court The role of Cafcass The welfare checklist  Type of family law orders Scott Schedule Use of recordings Who's who in the family court Witness Statements Writing a position statement Signposting list

The role of Cafcass

Relevance: 10%      Posted on: 15th September 2015

This page explains the role of the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service in the court process, including the safeguarding checks that they carry out and explaining section 7 reports.

Parental disputes

Relevance: 8%      Posted on: 1st December 2015

Abduction Access to information Adoption Advocacy Changing a child's surname Child abuse Contact Domestic abuse Family mediation Legal aid for family law matters Legal aid if you have been a victim of domestic abuse Legal aid if your child is at risk of abuse Locating a child Parental responsibility Residence Special guardianship Taking a child on holiday Testamentary guardianship Wardship Young people and medical treatment 

Parenting plans

Relevance: 8%      Posted on: 17th June 2019

What is a parenting plan? A parenting plan is a voluntary, written agreement between parents (and can include grandparents and other family members). The plan covers practical issues in relation to the children such as living arrangements, education, healthcare and finances and it aims to assist parents in resolving arrangements amicably and informally. Cafcass parenting plan Cafcass (The Children and Family Court Advisory Support Service) have produced a parenting plan template which is accessible online and accompanied by a guidance document. Of course, there are other templates which can be accessed online with a quick Google search or parents are…

Volunteer

Relevance: 8%      Posted on: 29th May 2015

Are you interested in volunteering? This helpline is a low cost service providing advice and guidance to families about child, education and family law. We provide full training on child, family and education law and many of our volunteers have subsequently been employed by us. Our volunteers usually work with us one full day a week every week for a minimum of three months. We operate a one month probationary period. We do request that our volunteers have studied or are in the process of studying either family, child or education law. Do you have a legal background?  If you have a…

Raising and caring for young people

Relevance: 8%      Posted on: 1st December 2015

Adoption Family and friends care Homelessness (16/17 year olds) Locating a child Parental Responsibility Private fostering Residence Section 20 Accommodation Special Guardianship Surrogacy Testamentary Guardianship Wardship Young carers

Child in need

Relevance: 8%      Posted on: 4th January 2017

This page explains the duty of Children’s Services under section 17 Children Act 1989 to provide services to children in need in their area. It explains the definition of a child in need, the assessment process and child in need plans and the types of services available.

Scott Schedule

Relevance: 8%      Posted on: 20th July 2018

What is a Scott Schedule A Scott Schedule is a schedule or table which is used in court proceedings in the Family Court in order to clearly set out the allegations which are in dispute.   The Judge will make directions for parties to submit a Scott Schedule, where necessary, and this will generally be required in advance of a fact-finding hearing. A fact-finding hearing is the name given to a court hearing where the Judge will determine if certain allegations are true or false.  A Scott Schedule should be as concise as possible and focused. Allegations which are pleaded should…

Information pages

Relevance: 7%      Posted on: 23rd May 2015

Abduction Accommodation for under 16s Adoption Advocacy Bullying Changing a child’s surname Child abuse Child Protection and the role of Children’s Services Child Protection Case Conference and Child Protection Plans Complaints to Academy Schools Complaints to Independent Schools Complaints to Maintained Schools Complaints to Schools Contact Contact with a child in care Direct Payments Disability discrimination in education Domestic abuse Education for children out of school Family and Friends Care Family mediation Hearings in the Family Court Home alone Home education Homelessness Litigants in Person  Local Authority duties towards children Parental responsibility Private fostering Residence School admissions School attendance and absence…

Litigation Friends

Relevance: 7%      Posted on: 30th July 2018

Litigation friends are required when a person lacks capacity to participate in court proceedings. This information page will explain who can be a litigation friend, specifically which circumstances require a litigation friend to be appointed and how to apply to be a litigation friend.  Introduction An individual who is involved in court proceedings (a 'litigant') must have the capacity in order to conduct those proceedings. In other words, a litigant must be able to participate in the proceedings insofar as being capable to convey their position, complete paperwork and understand the decisions of the court.  Children under the age of…

Contact us

Relevance: 7%      Posted on: 6th June 2015

Via telephone: Telephone support service We operate two limited intensive support telephone lines for complex matters and clarifying questions. One for family and child law calls and one for education law calls. Please view our terms and conditions prior to contacting our service. The demand for both lines are high and the funding we have in place is limited. We are only able to answer a limited number of calls. We would therefore ask you to carefully read through all the relevant available information provided on this website and only contact our intensive support telephone lines with genuine, clarifying questions on the…

Children’s services referral and assessment

Relevance: 7%      Posted on: 24th June 2015

This page explains the duties of Children's Services once a child protection referral is made. It describes the assessment process and timescales and explains possible outcomes of a child protection investigation.

Section 20 accommodation

Relevance: 7%      Posted on: 12th June 2015

This page provides information on the duties of the Local Authority to provide accommodation to children under the age of 16. It includes information of how the Local Authority will assess a child and the types of accommodation that can be provided.

Christmas Holidays FAQ

Relevance: 7%      Posted on: 14th December 2017

This page provides answers to FAQ's regarding Christmas Holidays and the family law issues which are particularly relevant at this time of the year.  Are the family courts closed over the Christmas holidays?  Crown Courts, County Courts and the Royal Courts of Justice will close over the Christmas period on: Wednesday 25 December 2019 Thursday 26 December 2019 Friday 27 December 2019 Wednesday 1 January 2020 Some emergency courts may operate over the holiday. See court and tribunal finder for details. In the case of there being no court order in place, what should the arrangements be for residence/contact over the Christmas…

Email advice service

Relevance: 7%      Posted on: 6th February 2018

We provide an email advice service on education and family law. To use this service please use the relevant link below. Our email advice service is to provide clarifying questions or for initial legal advice. Unfortunately we are unable to assist with complex legal queries via our email advice service and would request that you contact us via our telephone advice line for complex queries.  If we do deem your email to be too complex, we will email you and request that you contact us via our advice line.  Email advice relating to education law   Email advice relating to family…

Young carers

Relevance: 7%      Posted on: 22nd June 2015

This page explains the duties of the local authority to assess and provide support to young people who care for family members.

Explaining the legality of a Child Arrangements Order

Relevance: 6%      Posted on: 17th June 2019

What is a Child Arrangements Order? A Child Arrangements Order is an order that regulates with whom a child is to live, spend time or otherwise have contact, and when a child is to live, spend time or otherwise have contact with any person.  Each Child Arrangements Order is decided on the circumstances of the individual family and on what is in the best interests of that particular child. This means that there is no such thing as a ‘usual’ arrangement. Child Arrangements Orders are governed by section 8 of the Children Act 1989. For information on applying for a…

Witness Statements

Relevance: 6%      Posted on: 25th June 2018

This information page will provide advice on the subject of 'Witness Statements'. Witness statements are integral in setting out the evidence which a person intends to rely on during the course of family proceedings.  What is a Witness Statement?  A witness statement is a written document setting out the evidence of the person writing the witness statement. The evidence presented in the witness statement should include everything that a person intends to rely on in order to support their position.  A witness statement differs from a position statement insofar that a position statement does not contain evidence and is much…

About Child Law Advice

Relevance: 6%      Posted on: 6th June 2015

The Child Law Advice Service provides legal advice and information on family, child and education law affecting children and families in England. This service is provided via this website packed with how to guides and information pages. A dedicated intensive support telephone line is also available for complex matters and clarifying questions. We cover legal issues that may arise following relationship breakdown as well as Local Authority intervention and child protection issues.  Our education advice ranges from admissions issues to exclusions as well as what to do if your child is being bullied to how to get help for your child…

General Terms and Conditions

Relevance: 6%      Posted on: 8th January 2018

The Service The Child Law Advice Service is a digital first service. We have free information pages on child, family and education law on our website. Our online resources are available 24/7. If you have clarifying questions after consulting the resources available you can contact one of our telephone lines either 0300 330 5485 for education law issues or 0300 330 5480 for family and child law issues. Our telephone lines are open from Monday to Friday between the hours of 8am and 6pm. Our telephone lines are closed on bank holidays and during the Christmas period. Both lines are extremely…

Child Protection Conference & Plan

Relevance: 6%      Posted on: 19th August 2015

This page explains Child Protection Conferences, including information on who is able to attend and what will likely be discussed, as well as information regarding child protection plans and their function.

Use of Recordings

Relevance: 5%      Posted on: 17th June 2019

Why do people make recordings? There are various situations where someone might feel the need to make a recording. In meetings with professionals (e.g. Children’s Services, school staff or Cafcass), parents may feel they need to have an indisputable record of what was said: The parent might be unable to read or write, have a poor memory or difficulty concentrating (e.g. when stressed or due to a disability). It can be difficult to fully participate in a meeting, when trying to handwrite or type notes at the same time. A parent may simply not want to rely on other people's…

Booking a call back

Relevance: 5%      Posted on: 15th September 2015

The Child Law Advice offers a call back service at a time that suits you (subject to availability) between the hours of 8.30am-5.00pm Monday to Friday (excluding Bank Holidays and the Christmas period). This is for an advice call of up to 30 minutes at a cost of £25 with a legal advisor. Please view our terms and conditions prior to booking a call back. Bookable callback service Our bookable time slots are limited to a period of up to 30 minutes for a cost of £25. The advisor speaking to you will advise if you are due to go over…

Divorce

Relevance: 5%      Posted on: 17th June 2016

This page provides information on divorce including the grounds and reasons for divorce, how to make an application and information on the overall process.

Ending a Civil Partnership

Relevance: 5%      Posted on: 17th June 2016

This page provides information on dissolving or ending a civil partnership including the grounds and reasons for ending the civil partnership, how to make an application and information on the overall process.

Legal aid if your child is at risk of abuse

Relevance: 5%      Posted on: 6th November 2015

This page explains the different forms of evidence accepted for legal aid for private family law disputes when you care for a child who is at risk of abuse from the other party.

Consent Orders

Relevance: 5%      Posted on: 25th June 2018

This information page provides advice on the subject of 'consent orders' which are used in the family court as a means to formalise an agreement which has been reached. This page will explain in further detail what a consent order is, how to apply for a consent order and what to expect of the court process.  What is a Consent Order?  It is often the case that parents will reach an agreement regarding contact and residence. However, informal agreements are not automatically legally binding and therefore there are limited means of recourse if the opposing parent acts in breach of…

Writing a Position Statement

Relevance: 5%      Posted on: 4th January 2018

Attending court can be a daunting prospect, especially if you are representing yourself. It is important that you are well prepared in order to fully present your case to the Court; one way of achieving this is to write a position statement. This information page will describe how to write a position statement and why it is useful to do so.

Court Bundles

Relevance: 5%      Posted on: 19th July 2018

Court bundles are an integral element to family court proceedings as they contain a great deal of information that relate to a particular dispute. This information page will provide further advice on what the bundle is, who is responsible for preparing the bundle, what should be included in the bundle and the timetable for preparing and lodging the bundle.  What is a court bundle? Practice Direction 27A of the Family Procedure Rules provides guidance on court bundles.   A court bundle is a folder(s) which contains copies of all the documents which are considered relevant to a court case.  How should…

Surrogacy

Relevance: 5%      Posted on: 19th October 2017

This page provides advice on the law relating to surrogacy including the different types of surrogacy and who is regarded as the legal parent(s) of the child at the time of birth and for the future. 

Signposting List

Relevance: 5%      Posted on: 24th July 2017

Below you will find a list of organisations who may be able to assist on subjects/locations that we unfortunately do not cover. Please not Child Law Advice does not take responsibility for external consent linked to from this website. 

Home-alt

Relevance: 4%      Posted on: 3rd December 2015

Please see our Christmas Holidays FAQ page for information regarding child arrangements at Christmas.  Child Law Advice is operated by Coram Children's Legal Centre. We provide specialist advice and information on child, family and education law to parents, carers and young people. For full terms and conditions of our service please click here Feedback We constantly evaluate our services and would like to hear your views on how we have performed. Please fill in our short survey and let us know how we did. Thank you. Take our survey Family This section provides legal information and advice on family and…

Adoption (non-agency)

Relevance: 4%      Posted on: 17th August 2018

This page explains the legal process of non-agency adoption which involves placements that have not been arranged by a local authority or registered adoption agency. It explains who can adopt a child, what is process in order to apply for non-agency adoption and post-adoption contact.  What is non-agency adoption Non-agency adoption is the name given to adoption applications which involve a child who has not been placed with the prospective adopter by an adoption agency.  The principal categories of non-agency adoption are: Step-parent adoption (application by the partner of the parent of a child) Applications by local authority foster carers Applications…

Donate to Child Law Advice

Relevance: 4%      Posted on: 29th May 2015

Child Law Advice Service provides legal advice on all areas of child, family and education law via this website and our dedicated helpline. As a non-profit organisation we rely solely on funding and donations. Please help us to continue to provide this valuable service by making a donation. Your donation really does make a difference. If you would like to support the work we do then you can make your donation below. All donations are gratefully received and will assist us in continuing our work.  Increase the value of your gift by 25% If you are a UK taxpayer,…

Special Guardianship

Relevance: 4%      Posted on: 16th July 2015

This page explains the situations where Special Guardianship might be appropriate to secure the long term arrangements for a child living with a person other than their parent. It explains the assessment process and support available.

Court etiquette

Relevance: 4%      Posted on: 17th June 2019

How to dress for court hearings When dressing for court keep your clothing smart and simple. A list of potential clothing items to wear: Trousers Skirt Smart top or blouse Suit – tie is optional Smart shoes Unless there is a very good reason (for example because of a health condition) it is probably best to avoid wearing the following in court: Trainers Jeans Tracksuit Hat Sunglasses Remember to turn your phone off to ensure it does not ring during proceedings. How to speak to judges Be clear, respectful and polite. The party who has made the application to court…

Appeals

Relevance: 4%      Posted on: 17th June 2019

When can you submit an appeal? You cannot submit an appeal just because you do not agree with the judge's decision. You will be required to show you have grounds to appeal the decision. Grounds of appeal You will need to show that the decision of the judge of the lower court was: wrong, or unjust because of a serious procedural or other irregularity in the proceedings in the lower court. You will need to show that the judge did not apply the law correctly, did not follow the correct procedure, or that there are other strong reasons why the…

Declaration of parentage

Relevance: 4%      Posted on: 27th May 2015

This how to guide explains the steps that you can take to resolve a dispute about a child’s paternity including how to apply for a Declaration of Parentage stating who a child’s legal parents are.

The Welfare Checklist

Relevance: 4%      Posted on: 22nd January 2018

The overriding consideration in family proceedings is the question of "what is in the best interests of the child/children?" In answering this question, the court and other professionals are guided by a criteria known as the Welfare Checklist. This page will set out where the Welfare Checklist can be found in statute and will focus on each criterion in greater detail.  Where can I find the Welfare Checklist? The Welfare Checklist can be found in Section 1 of the Children Act 1989.  The Welfare Checklist Criteria 1. The ascertainable wishes and feelings of the child concerned (considered in the light of…

Wardship

Relevance: 4%      Posted on: 22nd May 2015

This page explains the situation where the High Court can become a legal guardian for a child under the power of Wardship.