Children


Here at Cygnet Law, we have a team of dedicated family law solicitors, legal assistants and barristers. Family law and children has been a focus of our firm since our establishment, and we have provided our legal advice to families in a wide range of circumstances. We’re highly experienced in both public and private law disputes relating to children, with private law focusing on child arrangements and adoption. If you require support for court proceedings for anything related to public law and children, we can help with that too. We provide advice from the outset relating to circumstances which involve social services and care proceedings.

Arrangements For Children

No matter your situation, we can support you in making any necessary arrangements for your children which provide the best results. There are a number of circumstances where arrangements need organising, such as when parents divorce or separate. For example, if neither party can agree on the arrangements for their children, you may need to go to court.

There are a number of agreements you might need to make when it comes to child arrangements like how often they see both parties, how contact is made, where your children will be living and more.

Child Arrangement Orders

A Child Arrangements Order is a legal order where the court decides either where a child will live, or who a child can spend time with and for how long. The order is used to legally set a child’s living situation for their best interests. This order is beneficial if agreements can’t be made informally, especially in instances where a child’s parents are divorced or separated.

When the court is deciding whether to grant a Child Arrangements Order, the child’s welfare is its primary consideration. It has to follow the ‘welfare checklist’, which includes the child’s wishes and feelings, their needs and the likely effect on the child of any change in circumstances. 

Our family solicitors can provide legal agreements and documents to ultimately come to any necessary arrangements for your children for the court.

Cygnet Law regularly assists grandparents looking for Child Arrangements Orders regarding contact with a grandchild they have lost contact with. We also offer advice to grandparents whose grandchildren have been taken into care or when social services have become involved.

Surrogacy

Surrogacy raises a number of complex legal and practical issues. Cygnet Law can offer legal advice in respect of surrogacy planning, parental order applications and Surrogacy disputes.

It’s vital to check to see if you have the right eligibility to go through with a surrogacy, as sometimes parental orders aren’t suitable for everyone. The expenses surrounding surrogacy is one of the most commonly misunderstood factors and is something we can provide assistance with.

If you need more information about parental orders and legal matters surrounding surrogacy, please get in touch with us.

Step Parent Adoption

There are many reasons why people want to consider step parent adoption, typically due to a change in relationships and family environments. In some circumstances, new partners become a part of a family and want to have parental responsibility over step children.

Step Parent adoption allows for full parental rights and responsibilities as if a person was their full biological parent to step-children.

Parental Responsibility Agreements

Parental responsibility agreements enable a person to have full rights over a child in law. Some parental responsibility examples include having the right over a child’s medical care and day to day decisions and care. Additionally, parental responsibility agreements include other important decisions relating to a child such as:

  • The registration of a child’s name.
  • Where the child will go to school.

Relocation

In situations where a parent wants to relocate with their children and they’re divorced or separated from the other biological parent, they can be faced with some potential complex issues. Usually, when relocating issues do arise and parents can challenge these decisions, as it means distance between them and their children which can interfere with the relationship. If you’re faced with issues which aren’t easily resolved and you’re wanting to relocate, it’s a good idea to seek legal advice to reach agreements.

Cygnet Law regularly provides advice in respect of families wishing to relocate internationally or within the United Kingdom.

Change Of Name

Depending on the family’s individual circumstances, some parents may want to change their child’s name. There are many reasons why a change of name is necessary, such as if parents have divorced, separated or step parents want children under the same surname. To change a child’s name legally, this requires the court to decide as it needs to be in the child’s best interests. It’s advised to have the consent of everyone involved with the parental responsibility of a child for the best success. However, if you require support with this process we can provide you with advice and support to ensure the change of name is approved.

Honour Based Violence & Forced Marriage

Honour based violence & forced marriage is illegal in England and Wales.

Honour based violence is described as a collection of practices, which are used to control behaviour within families or other social groups to protect perceived cultural and religious beliefs and/or honour. Such violence can occur when perpetrators perceive that a relative has shamed the family and/or community by breaking their honour code.

Equally, you have the right to choose who you marry, when you marry or if you marry at all. The Government advises that forced marriage is when you face physical pressure to marry (for example, threats, physical violence or sexual violence) or emotional and psychological pressure (e.g if you’re made to feel like you’re bringing shame on your family).

This includes:

  • taking someone overseas to force them to marry (whether or not the forced marriage takes place).
  • marrying someone who lacks the mental capacity to consent to the marriage (whether they’re pressured to or not).

Cygnet Law can provide you with urgent and clear advice to protect you. Do not hesitate to contact us if you are experiencing any of the above issues.  

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

Female genital mutilation (FGM) comprises all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.

Other terms to describe FGM are sunna, gudniin, halalays, tahur, megrez and khitan, among others.

FGM is illegal in the UK and is child abuse. It’s very painful and can seriously harm the health of women and girls. It can also cause long-term problems with sex, childbirth and mental health.

Cygnet Law can offer advice in relation to FGM and assisting in making an application to Court for a ‘Female Genital Mutilation Protection Order’ (‘FGMPO’). It then becomes a criminal offence if someone breaches the order.

FGMPOs are granted by a court and are unique to each case. They contain conditions to protect a victim or potential victim from FGM. This could include, for example, surrendering a passport to prevent the person at risk from being taken abroad for FGM or requirements that no one arranges for FGM to be performed on the person being protected.

You can apply for a protection order if you or someone you know is at risk of female genital mutilation (FGM). Importantly, victims of FGM are given anonymity for life. It is a criminal offence for anyone to identify a victim of FGM including on social media.

Cygnet Law can provide you with urgent and clear advice to protect you or persons you know are at risk of suffering from FGM. 

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