Separation & Children

Townsend Family Law offers decades of combined experience in family matters.

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What orders can we help you with?

We provide specialist advice and representation in relation to all children related matters. Our areas of expertise include the following:

  • Child Arrangements Orders which set out arrangements as to with whom a child lives, and the circumstances in which they have time with another parent/person. This can include a shared care order where a child effectively lives with both parents.
  • Specific Issue Orders which give the court power to make a decision on a specific issue over which the parents are in dispute such as a choice of school or undergoing a medical procedure. 
  • Parental Responsibility Orders which give the court power to give Parental Responsibility to an unmarried father who has not been registered on the child’s birth certificate and where a mother is refusing to allow a father to have parental responsibility. 
  • Prohibited Steps Orders give the court power to make orders stopping a parent from a particular act or acts such as changing schools without agreement or taking a child out of the country.
  • Removal from the Country – the court has power to give a parent permission to take a child or children abroad by way of a specific issue order.
  • Abduction – if a child has been removed without permission from the parent with primary care the court can make orders for the child’s return.
  • Change of Child’s Surname – in special circumstances the court can order the surname of the child to be changed by way of a specific issue order.
  • Injunctions – if there has been physical or emotional violence towards children by a parent the Court can make orders stopping a parent harming a child and ordering the removal of the parent from the family home. The court can also stop a parent from attending at the child’s school and addresses in addition to the family home.
  • Child Maintenance – this is mainly dealt with by the Child Maintenance Service but there are limited circumstances in which the court can make orders in divorce proceedings for a parent to pay child maintenance and this consists of school fees, disability and high income cases.

It may be possible to resolve disputes regarding children in a non-confrontational manner for example, by attending mediation, or by negotiations conducted in a conciliatory manner. If this is not possible, however, it may be necessary to initiate court proceedings.

Matters the courts will take into account

When the courts are asked to decide issues in relation to children, their paramount consideration will be the child’s welfare.

The courts have regard to a checklist “The Welfare Checklist” in deciding what order to make and will consider the following in reaching its decision:

  • the ascertainable wishes and feelings of the child concerned in the light of his or her age and understanding;
  • the child’s physical, emotional and educational needs;
  • the likely effect on the child of any change in their circumstances;
  • the child’s age, sex, background and any characteristics the child may have which the courts consider to be relevant;
  • any harm which the child has suffered or is at risk of suffering;
  • how capable each of the child’s parents, and any other person in relation to whom the courts consider the question to be relevant, are of meeting their needs.

Protecting the children involved in your relationship breakdown

It is essential that children are sheltered from as much emotional turmoil involved in a relationship breakdown as possible. You may find referring to the link below helpful, for leaflets offering guidance to adults upon relationship breakdown and to children whose parents are separating.

Our solicitors have a wealth of experience in dealing with children matters. We recognise however, that each case concerning children has its own unique set of circumstances and characteristics. We are able to provide you with specific advice in relation to your particular case including the prospects of succeeding in any application to the court.


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