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The welfare of the children of the family must be handled sensitively by family members when a marriage or relationship breaks down. You may have an existing arrangement in place but have concerns as to the suitability of those arrangements for your children. If you feel a change is necessary we can assist you to achieve this amicably with the other parent.  You are best advised to deal with any dispute relating to the children amicably and responsibly either between yourselves, or if this is not possible, through solicitors, mediators or collaborative lawyers.

Understanding how the Court would approach your matter can help to focus minds and plan for the future. Think about what your child’s needs are, physical, emotional and developmental; what is in their best interest and have their wishes been considered? Consider then how those needs can be provided for both practically and financially and what problems might be encountered along the way to focus on how those may be overcome.

It is not always possible to reach agreement in respect of these matters in which case you may need to issue proceedings, we will strive to provide a service which fosters positive and respectful relationships between parties wherever possible, to reduce the animosity and the negative effects this can have on all involved. This can be a very difficult time for you and particularly for children, we have the expertise to support you and can provide a wealth of advice on how to minimise the impact this has on the children and preserve their sense of security and stability within the family unit.  

The court will only become involved if there is a dispute that cannot be resolved and will only make orders if they are considered necessary and in the best interests of the children.

We can deal with the following issues for you:

  • Child Arrangement Orders detailing where the children live and how much time they spend with each parent
  • Parental child abduction
  • Moving abroad with your child.
  • Mediation for children issues
  • Skype Mediation for parents separated by distance or living abroad attempting to reach agreement on child arrangements
  • Parenting Plans
  • Specific issue and Prohibited Steps Orders to control actions being taken by those with parental responsibility for a child.
  • Parental Responsibility Agreements and Orders.
  • Grandparents rights
  • Changing your child's name
  • Step-parent adoption
  • Special guardianship orders
  • Variation and discharge of section 8 orders

Joanne Houston is also a Resolution accredited specialist in international family law and has vast experience of dealing with the international aspects of the law relating to children and in particular the removal of children from England and Wales by resident and non-resident parents.

Just Family Law offers Skype mediation to particularly assist families where one parent is living abroad and wishes to agree child arrangements in preparation for a return to the UK.

For further information and support please visit the website where helpful information is provided on how to communicate and support your child in a sensitive and child-centred way through the divorce process.

For more information download our divorce and children fact sheet.

If you have concerns for the immediate safety of your child call the police and your local Children’s Services department.  If you think a child is suffering abuse - report it.  

· Hampshire Children’s Services - phone 0300 555 1384
Childline - phone 0800 1111
NSPCC - phone 0808 800 5000
Police non-emergency – 101



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