We at Boyd Rice Solicitors will help you achieve the best outcome for you and your children
“There is nothing more precious to a parent than a child.” We have no doubt that you will agree with these wise words from Bill Clinton. Unfortunately sometimes parents can’t agree on what is best for their child, or one parent does not seem to care enough. This can be emotionally and physically draining. The other parent may be unreliable or untrustworthy and you need the Court’s assistance to formalise arrangement. Alternatively they may be preventing you from having appropriate access to your child. We can help.
The main principle in this area of law in Northern Ireland is that the child’s welfare is paramount. Everything else takes a backseat to this key consideration. This fundamental issue will always form the basis of our advice to you as the parent. Seeking a Court Order will be a last resort for us, we will try to resolve matters amicably but often initiating or defending Court proceedings will be required. The Court will not make an Order unless it considers that making one would be better than making no Order at all. There are a number of different Orders that are available to the Court.
Parental Responsibility Order
Parental Responsibility is defined in law as, “All the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which by law a parent of a child has in relation to the child and his property.” A mother automatically has Parental Responsibility. A father does not automatically have it; they may not be married to the mother and not named on the birth certificate. You can apply for it if you do not have it and we can guide you throughout that process. It may be that it can be agreed between the parties without Court intervention. Please note that having Parental Responsibility does not necessarily give you contact rights to the child, you may need to apply for a separate Contact Order.
Simply put this Order determines who the child resides with. The Court may make a Shared Residence Order which grants residence to both parents and sets out how the time should be split between them.
This Order permits the person named in the Order to have rights to see the child, or to have the child stay with them. In situations where the two parents and their legal representatives cannot agree on the contact the child and the non-residing parent should have, then the Court will intervene These orders can determine the day, time and venue of such contact.
Specific Issue Order
Where the parents are in disagreement over a specific issue relating to their child, the Court can step in to determine the outcome. These can be sought if there is a dispute about changing the child’s surname, a change of school, medical treatment and so on. We can advise on what issues the Court will rule on.
Prohibited Steps Order
This Order effectively means that a person with Parental Responsibility requires the consent of the Court to do something in relation to the upbringing of the child that could otherwise be taken by the parent in meeting their Parental Responsibility. The Order will specify what it is that requires the consent of the Court, for instance taking the child out of the country.
As you can imagine this can be a complex area of law and you the need to instruct an expert you can trust.
We are here to talk and listen to the problems you are experiencing. We can then plan a way for you to achieve a successful outcome for your child.
When you contact us for your free initial enquiry you will be under no obligation to instruct us and we will be delighted to help in any way that we can. You will not be judged, no matter the circumstances.
Please do not let funding concerns deter you from getting in touch with us. We will provide you at the outset with estimates of all our fees and charges. There may be the possibility to agree a flat fee at the outset of your case. Alternatively you may be entitled to legal aid. We will be able to explore these options on your behalf.
We devote care and attention to our clients and you can contact your assigned solicitor by phone or email.