Where parents are unable to agree on matters relating to their children they should consider alternative dispute resolution, such as mediation, rather than resorting to the Courts in the first instance. At Sunrise Solicitors we are happy to discuss with you all the ways in which disputes concerning children can be resolved, so as to ensure you choose the method which is most effective for you and your family. To speak to a solicitor within our family department please contact us now.

Unfortunately, alternative dispute resolution will not be successful in all cases and parties may therefore have to resort to using the Court process in order to conclude matters by applying for an Order under Section 8 of the Children Act 1989. You can apply for the following Orders;

  1. Residence Order - A Residence Order is an Order settling the arrangements to be made as to the person whom the child is to live. Following a Divorce, parents will share Parental Responsibility and therefore the making of a Residence Order will only decide where a child will live. If the parties are in agreement about where a child should live, then there is no need for either party to make an application to the Court for a Residence Order.
  2. Contact Order - A
 Contact 
Order 
is 
an 
Order
 requiring 
the 
person 
with 
whom
 the
 child lives, or is to live (regardless of whether there is a Residence Order in force or not) to allow the child to visit or stay with the person named in the Order, or for that person and the child otherwise to have contact with each other. A Contact Order can authorize physical contact, but can also cover contact by letter, email or by telephone. The amount of contact can either be specified in the Order or the Order could be for "reasonable contact" in which case the arrangements can be made by the parents.
  3. Prohibited Steps Order - A Prohibited Steps Order is an Order that no step that could be taken by a parent in meeting his or her Parental Responsibility for a child, shall be taken by any 
person 
without 
the 
consent 
of 
the 
Court. This order deals with specific problems which have arisen. An
 important
 restrictions 
on 
a 
Prohibited
 Steps 
Order 
is 
that 
it can relate only
 can 
relate 
only 
to 
matters 
which 
are 
included 
within 
Parental Responsibility.
  4. Specific Issue Order - A Specific Issue Order is an Order giving directions for the purpose of determining a specific question which has arisen or which may arise in connection with any aspect of Parental Responsibility for a child. It does not give a parent a general power, it just makes a decision on one issue over which there is a disagreement which cannot be resolved (e.g. circumcision, course of treatment for immunisation, religion the child should adopt, sterilization).
  5. Special Guardianship Order - A Special Guardianship Order (SGO) is a way of providing stability for a child who cannot return to live with their birth parent and for whom adoption is not appropriate. It is a legal way of giving the person caring for the child clear, long-term responsibilities for the child's upbringing. At the same time it preserves the legal link between the child and their birth parents.
    In many cases the child will continue to have contact with their parents. Where appropriate the court may make a Contact Order at the same time as the SGO. Once a SGO has been made, the Special Guardian will normally be the permanent carer for the child until that child reaches the age of 18.

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