Many law firms specialising in child law will offer fixed fees to assist you in making arrangements for your children following a family or relationship breakdown. This may be a fixed price first appointment to find out your rights and discuss your options, or more specific assistance with mediation, completing formal court applications, preparing witness statements or representing you at a hearing. Any Court proceedings can be stressful and costly for all concerned particularly where children are concerned. The Courts encourage parents to try and reach agreement between themselves and unless there is a serious reason not to such as domestic violence issues, it is expected that parents should go to mediation to help them make their own arrangements rather than involving the Court if at all possible. The welfare of the child is paramount in all circumstances.
Initial advice on private law child issues, such as contact with parents, where a child lives or obtaining an order to prevent a parnet taking certain steps such as moving abroard. In addition to advice it also includes the sending of a letter to the other party in order to try and resolve the issue. This sort of fixed fee does not deal with problems involving children’s services, such as care proceedings.
During private child law proceedings several hearings may take place during the process before a final order is made (or agreement reached bewteen the parties). Court orders may be made during the process requesting certain steps be taken such as witness statements exchanged or a specialist report initiated. This fixed fee would include all work from the Directions Hearing up to the Final Hearing or Fact Finding Hearing including ensuring compliance with any dirtections made by the Court and the preparation of any consent order if an agreement is reached during the process.
In addition to the application form to the Court to deal with issues relating to the children it may also be necessary to complete a supplemental information form (C1A) to support your application, if there are allegations of domestic violenceor abuse within the family. This fixed fee will help you complete the C1A form to support your application in a private child law matter.
If you have agreed to share parental responsibility for your child then it may be necessary for a Parental Responsibility Agreement to be prepared and lodged with the Principal Registry of the Family Division. This fixed fee will deal with the completion of the necessary form, arranging for the necessary signatures to be obtained and will lodge the signed document with the Principal Registry of the Family Division
If a private Child Law application has been made and a final hearing has been listed this fixed fee will allow the lawyer to represent you at the Final hearing in Court. It also covers for work ensuring that all previous directions have been complied with and continued advice and support through the process. If an agreement can be reached it will also cover the preparation of any Order made if instructed by the Court. This fee does not operate in care proceedings matters.