Children Act Proceedings
Information for Parents
If you are married and then go through a Divorce, both of you will continue to have Parental Responsibility for your children and the Court will leave it up to you to
decide the best arrangements for Residence and
Contact. It is only if you cannot agree that it may become necessary to apply for a Residence or Contact Order
Under the Children Act 1989, you can apply for a number of different types of order:
- Residence Orders decide where and with whom a child will live. If you can’t agree this with your ex-partner, you can apply for a Residence Order.
- Contact Orders make the person who the child lives with allow contact with someone else. For example, if your child lives with your ex-partner and you can’t agree
arrangements to see your child, you can apply for a Contact Order.
- Specific Issue Orders. These Orders make instructions on a specific point about your child that you can’t agree on. For example, if you can’t agree where your child
should go to school, you can apply
for a Specific Issue Order.
- Prohibited Steps Orders. These Orders mean that someone is not allowed, without the Court’s permission, to do the thing set out in the Order. For example, you may
not want your ex-partner to take your child overseas. You can apply for a Prohibited Steps Order if you are worried about
- Parental Responsibility Orders. These Orders give someone all the rights, duties and responsibilities as a parent. A mother automatically has Parental Responsibility and doesn’t need to apply for it.
You may want to apply for a Parental Responsibility Order if any of the following apply:
- You are the father of a child but were not married to the child’s mother at the time the child was born
- The child was born after 1 December 2003 and you were not registered as the father on the child’s birth certificate
- You haven’t already made a Parental Responsibility Agreement with the mother
Where parents are not married, only the mother has parental responsibility, but the father can also acquire this if the parents enter into a Parental Responsibility Agreement or if the father obtains a Parental Responsibility Order from the Courts. This will not give the father any right to interfere in the day to day arrangements for the care of the child, but he can expect to be involved in major decision making such as which school the child will attend. He will also be treated as one of the child's legal parents, so that he can for example obtain copies of school reports direct from the school.
How much will it cost?
The current Court fee for this type of order is £200.00*; this type of application does not allow for a fixed fee to be set unless you just wish us to part manage the application by taking instructions from you at our first meeting and then preparing the application form on your behalf.
We will then issue the application with the Court and you will then receive the issued application and first hearing date direct from the Court.
On that basis the part fixed fee would be
Our costs - Fixed fee £500.00 plus VAT of £100.00
Current Court fee for issue £200.00*
Total £800.00 – This fee would be payable at the start of the proceedings
This is where our involvement under the part managed fixed fee will end unless you instruct us to represent you further in which case further costs will apply. We will be clear about our fees and seek to ensure that you are very much in the loop as to what costs have been incurred as matters progress at regular intervals.
Grandparents and other members of the family
While parents have an absolute right to ask the Court to make a Residence or Contact Order, others may only apply with leave of the Court. Grandparents may wish to keep in contact with their grandchildren, or if the circumstances warrant it, may even want to apply to have the children come and live with them. The same may apply to other family members such as uncles and aunts, step-parents, older brothers and sisters etc. In appropriate circumstances such applications can be made but it will be necessary to obtain "leave" or permission from the Court first before the matter can go ahead.
* You will not have to pay the Court fee if you are receiving one of these benefits:
Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
Pension Credit guarantee credit
Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
Working Tax Credit but not also receiving Child Tax Credit
If you receive another state benefit or can show that paying a fee would cause undue hardship because of the exceptional circumstances of your case, you may not have to pay the Court fee; an Officer of the Court will decide this.