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Our guides are for separating or separated parents whose children live in England and Wales. Our intention is to provide you with a complete database of practical family law information. Don't panic! We take you step by step through family law related to children. Everything you need, at your fingertips, from court forms to templates for documents... guides, case law, tips and information to help you make informed choices. Don't be overwhelmed... while we provide information on a wide range of scenarios and situations, hopefully you won´t experience many of these, but if you do, or you worry you may, our resources will help.
Read these guides before you apply to court
You must attempt mediation before applying to court regarding arrangements for your children (unless exempt, and exemption criteria are included in our guide)Mediation
If mediation has been unsuccessful, or if you are exempt from attempting mediation, you may decide to apply to court. The following guides give a brief introduction and also help you find out whether or not you need the court´s permission to make an application.Making an Application Do I Need Permission to Apply?
If you have dyslexia, or have another form of specific learning difficulty, applying to court and managing your case can present particular difficulties. Do not underestimate how stress may affect you in court. Know your rights, and steps you can take to minimise any disadvantage.
You may need to change your working arrangements to assist you in a greater level of involvement in your children´s lives. We talk you through approaching your employer to request flexible working.
If you cannot afford a solicitor, you can represent yourself in court. Our guides will help. Did you know that you may be able to instruct a barrister yourself (saving the cost of a solicitor - read our guide on barristers which includes details of the Public Access Scheme).Using a Solicitor Barristers
Have you considered using a McKenzie Friend (a lay advisor) as an alternative to a solicitor. Three guides: the first to understand the role of the McKenzie Friends; the second gives the court´s guidance on what a McKenzie Friend may and may not do; the third gives provides practical tips on choosing a McKenzie Friend.McKenzie Friends Practice Guidance: McKenzie Friends Choosing a McKenzie Friend 101
Understand the importance of the legal status of Parental Responsibility
Template letters to help involvement in schooling and medical matters... guides on how parental responsibility is obtained, and what it meansParental Responsibility (PR) Medical Matters Education and Information Other FAQs Step Parents and Acquiring PR Private Foster Care Parental Responsibility Disputes
Need to find a mediator, court address, therapist or solicitor?
Court Fees and Exemption Criteria
What it costs to apply to court, whether you are exempt from paying court fees, and whether you qualify for legal aid. Find out in this section.Court Fees Exemption Criteria Do I need to pay Court Fees?
The Government´s legal aid calculator... find out if you are eligible.
Although not mentioned as eligible within the Government's Legal Aid Calculator, applications for the return of a child where unlawfully removed to or retained in a member state which is a signatory to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction or the Brussels II Revised Regulations may qualify for legal aid. In response to this specific question, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office assured us:
'Legal Aid provision is made in line with the requirements of both conventions. An application made in a UK court will therefore be in scope. An application made within another signatory country will be funded by that state, subject to the scheme operated by that country. This will continue to be the case after the legal aid reforms are implemented in 2013."
Different types of court order, these guides tell you how to apply to court for each
Which application forms to use, guides, case law and useful tools.
Orders which may be applied for regarding post separation living arrangements for and contact with the children.
Orders which may be applied for if there is a dispute over decisions concerning aspects of the children´s lives (such as choice of schools, education, medical treatment, religious practices, relocating the children and/or holidays abroad)
Orders which may be applied for if you or the children are at risk of harm
Orders which may be applied for to find the location of the children, and/or to recover the children if unlawfully removed from your care.
Orders which the court might make of their own volition (bear in mind the court can make any order which it deems to be in the children´s best interests).
Orders which other individuals (not parents) may apply for to be involved in decisions about the children´s lives and/or their care.
£2.50 Court Application Packs
Contact Orders Emergency Protection Orders Enforcing Contact and Warning Notices Parental Responsibility Prohibitive Steps Orders Recovery Orders Residence Orders Seek and Find Orders Shared Residence Orders Special Guardianship Orders Specific Issue Orders
N161 - Appellant's Notice N161a - Notes for completing Applicant's Notice N161b - Important notes for the Respondent N162 - Respondent's Notice N162a - Notes for completing Respondent's Notice N163 - Skeleton Argument
These guides explain the Court ProcessFirst Hearing and Dispute Resolution Appt Finding of Fact and Split Hearings Appeal Courts and Judges Emergency Hearings
£2.50 Court Process Packs
Parenting Time Planning
Simple, one page calendars for the next two years ahead. Handy to keep in your case for negotiations outside court, and planning before. Check school dates from County Council websites (these vary from County to County).2013 Parenting Time Planner 2014 Parenting Time Planner
Legislation and Court Guidance
Information for Crisis and More Complex Situations
If you or your children are at risk of domestic violence, or you are accused of domestic violence, read these guides.
Facing false allegations in court? Strategies which may help...
A guide, case law and resources to support separated parents facing the prospect of their children being relocated within the UK.
Concerned that your children may be taken abroad without your consent? Is your consent required? Steps you can take to prevent this, and resources if your children have been unlawfully relocated or retained abroad without your consent.
A guide, case law and resources to support separated parents facing the prospect of their children being relocated abroad. The Custody Minefield led the campaign to see this area of law change (www.relocationcampaign.co.uk)
Have your children and ex-partner gone missing? Guides which can help.
Have your children been encouraged by your ex-partner not to see you? Guides and case law on the difficult problem of parental alienation.
Is your being the child´s father in doubt? Guides and resources on paternity testing.
Information for parents who face, or may be considering asking for a psychological assessment to be carried out as part of court proceedings.
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