Children matters

The court will only make an order in relation to a child when it is in their best interests. This will be the paramount consideration and will take precedence over the wishes of the parents.

The process

Orders of court

A biological parent or someone with parental responsibility for a child can make an application for the following orders at court without requiring the permission of the other parent:

  • Parental responsibility order
  • Where a child lives
  • Who a child should spend time with and when
  • Specific issue orders
  • Prohibited steps order

However, prior to making your application to the court you must attend mediation, unless you are eligible for an exemption. If you are not a biological parent of a child, or someone with parental responsibility you will be required to make an application for leave, which is permission from the court, to proceed with an application for one of the above orders.


Mediation is a forum where both parties can discuss the arrangements for the children or any other issues with respect to their welfare. If an agreement can be reached at mediation there will be no need to make an application to the court, unless a legally binding order is required.

If mediation breaks down you will receive a form from the mediator allowing you to make your application to the court.


We can send a letter to the other party, or to their solicitors, with your proposals for the children or to resolve any other issues arising with respect to their welfare.

Arrangement orders

Where the parties agree

The court will not interfere with the arrangements made between the parties regarding the care of the children if it is satisfied the arrangements are agreed and workable, and there are no welfare concerns.

Where the parties cannot agree.

The parties can negotiate via solicitors as to the arrangements. They can also attend mediation or speak to a collaborative lawyer. If no agreement can be reached, one party (the ‘applicant’) will have to apply to the court for an order.

What orders can the court make?

  • Child arrangement orders - this states where a child should live and who they should spend time with.
  • Specific issue orders - with regard to a specific aspect of a child’s upbringing (ie, what school they should attend).
  • Prohibited steps orders - one party can apply to stop the other doing something in relation to the child.

Our service to you

If you are going through a relationship breakdown we can offer you the support and compassion you will need with regards to:

Contact Jackson Lees 

We understand the pressures of daily life and will try to accommodate your needs:

  • Evening and Saturday appointments available.
  • We can use blank envelopes and will contact you on a specific number or address.
  • We can offer one-off consulations so you know where you stand.