Care, Arrangements & Disputes
At Heald Nickinson we understand matters involving children can be a challenging time for parents and families. Our specialist Solicitors are well versed in providing clients with clear advice regarding their legal position and in supporting them through difficult times.
Our team comprises specialist lawyers who have a wealth of expertise and knowledge, with individual members having been awarded the Law Society’s Children Law Accreditation as recognition of their specialist skills.
We operate in several geographic areas and have assisted individuals based in London, Surrey, Hampshire and Berkshire. We also welcome enquiries from other locations.
We remain committed to ensuring Legal Aid is available, subject to the Legal Aid Agency’s criteria. Where Legal Aid is not available, we offer competitive hourly rates to carry out the work. We also offer initial 1 hour, fixed fee consultations for general discussions to take place.
Our specialist Solicitors can assist with a variety of legal issues. Lawyers often separate matters relating to children into public and private law matters which include but are not limited to the following;
PRIVATE LAW MATTERS
These matters are usually about arrangements between parents and/or other family members concerning children.
Our team provides advice, assistance and representation in cases where there has been a breakdown in relationships and contact and living arrangements concerning the children of the family are in dispute. These cases include child arrangements orders, prohibited steps orders and special guardianship orders.
PUBLIC LAW MATTERS
Public Law matters are legal processes concerning children of the family which involve a Local Authority.
When a Local Authority is concerned about the welfare of a child, it will initiate a PLO process.
Parents will be given a letter outlining the local authority’s concerns and will be invited to attend a meeting with children’s services. Our Solicitors frequently attend such meetings together with parents and routinely provide them with legal advice and representation throughout the PLO process.
Care Proceedings are a formal Court process initiated by the Local Authority.
These proceedings can be issued on an immediate basis when the Local Authority requires an Emergency Protection Order (EPO), or alternatively they can be issued with some notice to parents when Care and Supervision Orders are sought.
The proceedings are used by the Local Authority to seek Court Orders which impact upon the immediate and long term care and living arrangements for the children of the family.
Our Solicitors regularly assist children and parents to navigate these Proceedings. They also assist extended family members in relation to Special Guardianship Orders and provide advice and assistance when they are considering challenging negative assessments.
For more information on guardianship orders, check out our dedicated of the legal guardianship process.
Our highly experienced team has acted in matters where there have been issues of alcohol and substance misuse, mental health difficulties, sexual abuse, neglect, domestic violence and non-accidental injuries to children. They have also assisted individuals seeking contact with children in the care of the local authority and submitting applications to revoke and discharge care and placement orders.
Should you require advice, assistance or further information, please do not hesitate to contact our Children Law Team on 01276 680 000.