Legal Articles


Child Care and disputes involving children

Our firm has comprehensive expertise and experience in handling children law disputes of every kind. Please call us on 02827 511292 or email chris@ckraffertysolicitors.co.uk/kathryn@ckraffertysolicitors.co.…

The types of dispute involving children fall into 3 categories.

(a) Private Law disputes - usually Article 8 disputes between parents about where the child should live, rights of contact by the non-resident parent and disputes about the exercise of parental responsibility. It also includes proceedings in which an application is made for a Parental Responsibility Order.

(b) Public Law disputes (excluding Adoption) - where at least one of the parties to the proceedings are an Authority and in many of these proceedings so also is the child. These proceedings include all proceedings under the Children (NI) Order 1995 which are not private law proceedings. They include Care and Supervision proceedings, Emergency Protection Proceedings, Education Supervision Proceedings, Secure Accommodation Proceedings. It also includes proceedings after a care order is made such as contact applications and discharge proceedings.

(c) Adoption Proceedings

What is Parental Responsibility?

Parental responsibility is defined as 'all the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which by law a parent of a child has in relation to the child and his property'.

Who has Parental Responsibility?

The following have Parental Responsibility for a child
(a) the Mother of the child
(b) the Father of the child provided he is or was married to the mother during the lifetime of the child.
(c) the Father of the child if he appeared on the Child's birth certificate since April 2002
(d) the Father of the child if he has a parental responsibility order
(e) Anybody who had a residence order in respect of the child.
(f) If the child is subject to a care order, the Authority during the term of the care order
(g) If the child is subject to an emergency protection order, the authority during the term of the order
(h) If there is no person with PR when the last person with PR dies, the person appointed under the will of the last PR
(i) If there has been an adoption order, the new adoptive parents. An adoption order is the only kind of order which can take away PR from the child's parents.

Note an unmarried father who does not have PR can apply for a parental responsibility order.

Orders that can be made in Private Law Proceedings

The usual private law Orders that can be made in Private law proceedings under the Children Order are:
(a) A parental responsibility Order
(b) A change or name
(c) A residence order which is an order settling the arrangements to be made as to the person with whom a child is to live
(d) A contact order which is an order requiring the person with whom a child lives, or is to live, to allow the child to visit or stay with the person named in the order, or for that person and the child otherwise to have contact with each other
(e) A prohibited Steps Order
(f) A Specific Issue Order which is an order giving directions for the purpose of determining a specific question which has arisen, or which may arise, in connection with any aspect of parental responsibility for a child



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