Leeds Family Court Applications & Disputes Concerning Children

Do you need legal advice relating to a dispute with an ex-partner concerning your children, and/or family court applications? At Consilia Legal we know that upon separation you are likely to be very concerned about how your children will be affected, where they will live and how often they should see you and the other parent. Consilia Legal have offices in Leeds & Harrogate and our knowledgable Family Law Solicitors have a wealth of experience in matters relating to the family court and disputes concerning children. Read our excellent reviews on Google.

Child Law Advice Leeds

The law relating to children is governed by the Children Act 1989. Issues concerning where children should live (previously called custody or residence) and when children should see each parent (previously called access or contact) are now dealt with under the Child Arrangements Programme which came into force in April 2014.

Do I need to attend mediation first?

The law is clear that parents should first try to resolve issues concerning the care of their children through the process family mediation of unless there are serious welfare or safeguarding concerns.

Anyone, save for in certain defined exceptional cases, seeking to issue a court application concerning the care of their children MUST attend a mediation information and assessment appointment (MIAM) to ascertain whether the mediation process can assist to resolve issues. For more information on family mediation visit our Consilia Mediation website. Depending of the age of your child/ren you may also want to explore child inclusive mediation.

What orders can the Family Court make?

Where mediation or other forms of alternative dispute resolution are not appropriate, it may be necessary to make an application to the Court and seek a formal order. Any application will be dealt with at the Family Court in the area in which your child lives.

The Family Court has the power to make a number of orders in relation to children, most commonly: –

 

What approach do the courts take?

When a Court application is made for a Child Arrangements Order, Specific Issues Order or a Prohibited Steps Order there are various factors that the Court will take into consideration when deciding whether to make the order.

The Court will consider the following three principles: –

  1. The child’s welfare is the Court’s paramount consideration;
  2. Any delay in resolving matters is likely to prejudice the welfare of the child; and
  3. The Court shall not make an order unless it considers that doing so would be better for the child than making no order at all.

The Court will also have regard to the following factors commonly known as the ‘Welfare Checklist’:

  • the ascertainable wishes and feelings of the children concerned (considered in the light of the child’s age and understanding);
  • their physical, emotional and educational needs;
  • the likely effect on the children of any change in their circumstances;
  • their age, sex, background, and any characteristic of theirs which the Court considers relevant;
  • any harm which they have suffered or are at risk of suffering;
  • how capable each of the parents, and any other person in relation to whom the Court considers the question to be relevant, is of meeting the child’s needs; and
  • the range of powers available to the Court under the Children Act in the proceedings in question.

The Court will look at which of the above principles and factors are relevant to the case and consider them accordingly. Ultimately the aim the of Court is to ensure that whatever decision is made is in the best interests of the child.

Unfortunately there are no guarantees or fixed outcomes when making a formal Court application and each case will be dealt with on its facts. This litigation risk is something to bear in mind when considering whether to make an application.

What is the process when making an application?

  1. Submitting the application
  • Complete a Form C100 setting out the background facts and the orders you would like the Court to make;
  • Pay the Court fee of £215 (subject to change).
  1. Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS)
  • A CAFCASS officer will be instructed who will work with you and the children and advise the Court on what they consider to be in the children’s best interests;
  • CAFCASS will carry out safeguarding enquires and then report their findings within a safeguarding letter for the Court;
  • Sometimes CAFCASS may carry out a further in-depth report called a Section 7 report;
  • The Court is very much guided by the recommendations of CAFCASS.
  1. First Hearing Dispute Resolution Appointment (FHDRA)
  • The matter will then be listed for a first hearing called a FHDRA which will be before either a District Judge or Magistrates (3 lay people and a legal advisor);
  • The purpose of the FHDRA is for the Court to see if an agreement can be reached between the parents.
  1. Dispute Resolution Appointment (DRA)
  • A DRA is usually scheduled if CAFCASS have been directed to produce a Section 7 report or other interim directions have been ordered at the FHDRA to assist the Court in deciding the issues in dispute;
  • The Court will resolve or try to narrow the issues in dispute at the DRA.
  1. Final hearing
  • In the small number of cases that proceed to a final hearing, the Court will hear oral evidence from the parties and sometimes from other witnesses and/or Cafcass. You would require a barrister to represent you at this hearing.

For more information speak to one of our experienced family solicitors on 0113 322 9222 or enquires@consilialegal.co.uk or complete our contact us form.

 


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What Our Clients Say About Our Family Law Services

Laura Clapton has been brilliant and very professional through the Mediation process. I highly recommend her.

Jen Huggett

Absolutely five star service from Laura Clapton and her team, always kept informed of progress, and Laura was always available on the end of the phone to answer any questions. Highly recommended, thank you Consilia Legal.

Jane C

Professional and personal. Vicky was very caring and listened to my issue, advice was clear and easy to understand. Vicky ensured my mind was at ease and I knew my options. Excellent service. Sarah really knows the family sector, she puts you at ease instantly and ensures you are aware of all the options. Would definitely recommend this service. Thank you for your help.

Catherine White

Vicky guided me through the legal context of an employment and was very efficent, approachable and supportive. I would highly recommend this company and Vicky to others who need legal support and advice. Many thanks.

Maureen Sheridan

Had a great experience working with Victoria. Felt completely comfortable asking all kinds of questions and she always explained them really well.

Julia Mariani

I often get clients asking if I can assist with employment and family matters. As this is not my area of specialism I am conscious to help assist by passing them onto a trusted source who will look after the client in the best manner possible and with the same approach and ethos as myself. For employment and family matters I recommend to Consilia Legal as they contact the client promptly and provide practical no nonsense advice at a great value. I have no hesitation in recommending their services and will continue to direct my clients to them for this type of legal advice.

John Bailes

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    I was delighted with the advice and help Andy gave me. He was extremely helpful in a very stressful time and I would highly recommend anyone looking for legal advice - FIRST CLASS !!

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    1/09/2020
  • I would like to say a big thank you to Emma Cartlidge Employment Solicitor. She was extremely professional, friendly and polite and very thorough in her work. Emma helped me with my matter making sure to stay in touch and keep me fully informed at all stages. The service from Consillia Legal has been amazing. Everyone I have spoken to has been super friendly and so helpful including Matt on Reception and Victoria who I spoke to for initial advice. This is definitely a 5-star rated law firm and I would not hesitate to recommend Emma and her colleagues. A big thank you !

    RAVINDER Heer
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    Marie Walsh is undoubtedly the best employment solicitor in Leeds, if not the whole of Yorkshire. I always knew this from her great reputation and she recently assisted me with a very complex and difficult matter. Marie handled the situation with a pragmatic approach and endless patience. I cannot recommend her enough - she is an absolute superstar! I also dealt with Andy Boyde in her absence who was extremely professional and great to deal with.

    Bin Sparkes
    1/05/2020
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    1/02/2020

    I could not have asked any more from Andy. He was really friendly and helped me through a very difficult time. He did not waist time, both to make sure we resolved the matter quickly but also to keep cost to a minimum. I’m extremely happy with his services.

    Tatiana Sebastiao
    12/24/2019
  • I had to get a Solicitor a pretty short notice, and Andy was able to see me the same day. He made me feel very at ease and explained everything to me so I could understand it better. I would highly recommend Consilia to everyone
    Thank you again Andy for your fantastic advice and support

    Kelly Rawson
    12/18/2019

    I received clear, straightforward advice from Andy Boyde. I always felt that Andy was acting in my best interest. When I met him, Andy's approach was approachable and relaxed but still very professional.

    Martin Curran
    11/09/2019
  • Consilia provided a great service during a difficult period when I was made redundant. Vicky showed great professionalism and expert knowledge in addition to genuinely caring about resolving my situation. I would highly recommend them.

    Phil Sugden
    11/06/2019

    Andy from Consilia Legal was fabulous in providing support and advise in what was a very difficult period in my working life. We managed to get a fair deal for my settlement and all with in a short space of time. Once again thank you Andy

    Richard Pickles
    10/31/2019
  • Laura and the team have been an incredible help in my divorce. Through a very difficult time they have always been on hand to offer exceptional advice and assistance. I have always felt reassured by their professionalism and care. Thank You.

    tim capper
    10/23/2019

    Consilia were fantastic helping me deal with a redundancy issue. They were helpful and professional. Really put my mind at ease knowing I had their help

    Robert Cubbon
    10/07/2019
  • I recently had occasion to require the services of an employment lawyer and was recommended to this firm by a professional colleague. I have dealt with many lawyers around the world in the most complex business transactions and personally. I can honestly say I have never received the level of consideration and service from any other legal firm to match that of Consilia Legal. From the moment they picked up the phone to my initial call to the matter being finalised in record quick time; their service and attention to detail was never less than exemplary. Their legal advice was also spot on. It is extraordinary to see this level of service across every aspect of a business and it is a huge credit to Marie Walsh and her team (especially Emma Cartlidge) that they are all able to make their clients feel so welcome and so cared for. I would heartily recommend them to anyone.

    Stephen Wilson
    9/13/2019

    I recently needed legal help with a settlement agreement post a redundancy. I have never had the need to use a solicitor's services before. Going by the great reviews on Consilia I decided to give their services a go. I had the pleasure to be attended by Emma Cartlidge and she made the experience simple and easy. The offer was reviewed and amended with precision and I needn't worry about anything. I would recommend Consilia to anyone nervous about using legal services and in need of employment law advice.

    mszkamio .
    9/11/2019
  • Superb professional, supportive & friendly service by Laura and her colleagues.

    Their responses to both emails and telephone calls were quick and precise.

    I could and not of asked for a better service during a very difficult period, and would not hesitate to use again.

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    Steve Wallis
    9/02/2019

    Thanks Laura and team at Consilia Legal. Great service and such a pragmatic and human approach to the legal system. Fitted really well with my personal values. Truly aimed at being conciliatory rather than adversarial.

    David Beaumont
    8/18/2019
  • Thanks Laura and team at Consilia Legal. Great service and such a pragmatic and human approach to the legal system. Fitted really well with my personal values. Truly aimed at being conciliatory rather than adversarial.

    David Beaumont
    8/18/2019

    Emma was amazing for me, and I would highly recommend her and her firm for any employment related issues. She helps with making it easy to understand and makes the whole process as swift and efficient as possible. Thank you for all of your help.

    Terri-Rochelle Ward
    8/15/2019
  • Andy Boyde at Consilia Legal was more than helpful I highly recommend him for he went above and beyond. If your looking for a good honest solicitor who is genuine and transparent throughout then look no further.
    Danielle Phillip

    Danielle Phillip
    7/31/2019

    I would have no hesitation in recommending Consilia Legal. Being in the more than capable hands of Marie & Andy collectively, helped me through an employment issue, which was difficult at times. However the support I received was highly proffessional, with a very caring approach at all times & they guided me through the process. Thank you so much. Elaine

    Elaine Dale
    7/22/2019
  • Sarah Manning was great - really efficient and supportive. I would recommend her to anyone.

    Leah Gore
    6/28/2019

    Marie and her staff have been very helpful. Marie had assisted me previously with an employment law issues so I had no hesitation in engaging her again. She helped me through an unpleasant job related matter when I was at a low ebb and feeling unable to fight my own corner. As before Marie gave sound, straight forward advice and took over the handling of communication with my employer until the matter was resolved. When I had to take action myself Marie was always there to consult if I was worried about something. I would thoroughly recommend Consilia Legal to anyone.

    Amanda Keers
    6/24/2019
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    6/03/2019

    Excellent personal support, advice and understanding from Marie, Emma and the Team, thanks for all you have done.
    Highly recommended

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    5/30/2019
  • Received a really good service from Marie and the team including Emma, who offered valuable support throughout. I contacted Consilia following a recommendation from a union representative. Was given great advise through her trusted associate who offered an accurate and professional assessment. Marie secured a really good outcome due to her knowledge, perseverance, conscientiousness and genuine desire to try and get the best outcome on my behalf. A lot of genuine empathy and respect expressed and a brilliant negotiator. Very well informed, experienced and brilliant communicator. True to her word re costs as discussion was upfront and honest. Very reasonable rate compared to other firms. Would recommend to others Thank you very much!

    Elaben Mistry Jackson
    5/26/2019

    Received a really good service from Marie and the team including Emma, who offered valuable support throughout. I contacted Consilia following a recommendation from a union representative. Was given great advise through her trusted associate who offered an accurate and professional assessment. Marie secured a really good outcome due to her knowledge, perseverance, conscientiousness and genuine desire to try and get the best outcome on my behalf. A lot of genuine empathy and respect expressed and a brilliant negotiator. Very well informed, experienced and brilliant communicator. True to her word re costs as discussion was upfront and honest. Very reasonable rate compared to other firms. Would recommend to others Thank you very much!

    Elaben Mistry Jackson
    5/26/2019
  • Very professional and got the right result for me in a very timely abs efficient manner. Great service, good advice and an excellent result I couldn’t have got on my own

    Jon Geldart
    5/23/2019

    Excellent service from Laura Clapton guiding me through a difficult divorce process. Super efficient, professional and carries out the work with understanding and compassion for your situation. Would highly recommend and have already recommended.

    Jo Allan
    4/09/2019
  • Professional, swift responses and detailed answered. Received THE BEST customer service from Andy Boyle at Consilia. Definitely Recomendd!

    Arooj Iqbal
    3/18/2019

    Professional and received good customer service. I would really recommend them as they helped me to negotiate my way out of a difficult work situation on the best terms possible. Andy was very polite and knowledgable.

    Diane Holden
    3/15/2019
  • Consilia have done a good job of mediating the discussions across family and financial matters. Quick responses, good communication and a helpful/flexible approach.

    Rob Hennessy
    3/06/2019

    Victoria Horner offered me employment law advice over the telephone and via email which was impartial but ultimately a game changer in the redundancy situation I found myself in with my employer. Victoria’s advice was instrumental in allowing me to negotiate redundancy and meant I was fully abreast of the law when having conversations with my employer. Victoria presented to me options which I have not yet considered or been made aware of a being entitled to which placed me in a stronger position when in dialogue with the HR department I was dealing with. This made me feel more empowered and gave me back some control during a very unsettling and confidence eroding time. Thank you Victoria.

    Sarah De Biase
    3/06/2019
  • I had a great service from Laura and her team at Consilia Legal and would certainly recommend them to others. The service was very friendly and informative keeping me up to date in a timely manner and been on hand to offer advice when needed. Thankyou.

    Matthew Bell
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    I was recommended Andy Boyde of Consilia Legal by a good friend in the profession to handle a personal issue. Dealing with Andy has been a pleasure from start to finish. Calls and emails were answered and dealt with in a timely manner and he gave a great deal of attention to run through legal jargon in layman's terms. Thoroughly recommended.

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    3/01/2019
  • I dealt with Vicky at Consilia Legal and I couldn't thank her and the team enough. Very fast and efficient and will go out of her way to help in anyway possible. Would recommend over and over again. Thank you

    Lauren Clark
    2/11/2019

    Laura Clapton has been brilliant and very professional through the Mediation process. I highly recommend her.

    Jen Huggett
    1/22/2019
  • I was most impressed with the speed and efficiency which Andy Boyde at Consilia Legal handled my case. I selected Consilia Legal after reviewing previous feedback which had positive comments regarding the areas I was interested in. The way my case was handled turned a stressful situation into a quick and stress free process. I would have no hesitation in recommending Consilia Legal.

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    12/04/2018
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    Mirra Riz
    12/03/2018

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