Children FAQs

If my partner and I separate where will the children live?
If you want the children to live with you then you can apply to the court for what is called a Child Arrangements Order. This Order states where the children should live. Or you and your partner can agree between yourselves where the children should live.
My partner will not let me see our children - what can I do?
You can apply to the court for a Child Arrangements Order. You can ask the court to let you visit your children or have your children stay with you for short periods, like weekends or during the school holidays.
My partner has threatened to take the children from my care - what can I do?
You can stop your partner by applying to the court for an order. This is called a Prohibited Steps Order. If your partner has already taken the children from you, you can get an Order that they must bring the children back. If anyone knows where your partner has taken the children you can get an order which says they must tell the court.
I was not married to my partner but I am the childrens' father - do I have any rights?
If you want a say in your children's education, health and welfare then you will need to apply to the court for what is called a Parental Responsibility Order. This allows you to make decisions about the children and means that you are to be kept informed about anything affecting the children. It is not always necessary to go to court to get a Parental Responsibility Order, your partner can agree to give you this by signing an agreement. This is known as a "Parental Responsibility Agreement". These agreements can be drawn up by a solicitor and must be witnessed by a court official or magistrate.
My partner and I can't agree on important decisions concerning our children - what can we do?
You can apply to the court for a Specific Issue Order. This is where the court makes the decision on your behalf, you will then both be bound by the court decision. For example, which school the children should go to, or whose surname they should have.
The children say they don't want to see my partner - what can I do?
If your partner applies to the court to see the children and the children do not want to see your partner, you can explain this to the court. The court may arrange for someone to speak to the children and for that person to write a report, this will usually be a Court Welfare Officer. Sometimes it may be necessary for the children to have their own solicitor, so their views can be put across to the court. The court can take into account the children's views if they are old enough, but a court does not always have to follow their views.
My children have been taken into care by social services - what can I do?
You should see a solicitor if you want to try and get your children back. Usually social services will apply to the court for an Order that they can take your children into care. You can oppose this Order. Even if an Order has been made you might later be able to have the Order changed.


More - Free Legal Information