We are the leading Midlands’ firm for childcare and family law, advising clients on private childcare arrangements and negotiations during court proceedings, representing and advising parents through the child-protection process, childcare, and advising prospective parents on adoption and surrogacy processes throughout Birmingham and beyond.
When parents separate, children, especially those old enough to express their views can often feel trapped, caught in the middle of their parent’s dispute and desperate to try to please both parents. Moreover, it is a sad reality that children can often feel their own views are lost in their Mum and Dad’s disputes and often, what is eventually agreed or ordered is not what the child themselves might want or what might be best for them.
There are no winners in court battles regarding children. As family solicitors, we see many cases that boil over into legal disputes and court proceedings. Although in court proceedings a court-appointed professional called a CAFCASS officer can be directed to prepare a report within which to identify a child’s wishes and feelings, often by this point a great deal of damage has been done and significant costs incurred.
Research shows that children who are involved in court battles are more likely to go through similar battles as adults with a negative impact on their academic and career prospects.
At Anthony Collins Solicitors we have two family solicitors; Chris Lloyd-Smith and Maria Ramon, who are also Accredited Family Mediators, who work with parents to try and agree on private childcare arrangements without the necessity of going to court.
As Accredited Family Mediators we help couples who are separating to reaching conclusions about parenting issues, including how children spend time with them. As part of that process, we recommend giving the children the opportunity to speak with us and express their wishes and feeling about how they are feeling and any issues that are affecting them. This is called ‘direct consultation’ or ‘child inclusive’ mediation.
We find that offering meetings with children to parents in mediation provides real benefits. It gives the child themselves an opportunity to have a voice in the mediation and for that child to feel their views have been taken into account when their parents are making decisions.
The world of families and relationships have developed substantially over the last couple of decades with second, third marriages being a fairly normal occurrence. Add into these relationships children from those marriages, and it can lead to circumstances where there are a number of people involved in a child's life all of whom provide love, care and who bond with that child – commonly known as a “blended family”.
In the majority of cases, both the mother and the father of a child will have parental responsibility.
Parental responsibility means all the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority a parent of a child has in relation to the child and the child’s property by law. It enables a person to make decisions about the child’s property and welfare to include, but not limited to, religious upbringing, accommodation, education, and medical treatment. Unhelpfully these rights and duties are not specified in statute, and the guidance available comes from case law. Our team can help you to manage the complexities and court powers regarding parental responsibilities.
Our team can also help to develop parenting plans. A parenting plan is a menu of conversation prompts designed to enable parents to discuss all aspects of their children's' lives, both current and future, and can be disclosed to the court in the event of a dispute. It is designed to pre-empt disagreements and multiple court applications and covers everything from schooling to the introduction of new partners.
Our adoption practice spans over 30 years of experience, and the team at Anthony Collins Solicitors is recognised as leaders in this field. The team has been appointed by the Court on a number of matters involving adoptions to represent the children involved, both in the UK and, often, from abroad, including Nigeria, Pakistan, Norway, India and the USA.
Our family law team is recognised for its excellence by the Legal 500 who rank us as a Tier 1 firm in the West Midlands, and we are highly-ranked in Band B by Chambers & Partners. We are the only firm with a dedicated children’s team to be ranked this highly by both directories, and our team will guide and support you through your case, ensuring full understanding of your options throughout the process.
Please contact us for further information about how we can help you and your family.
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