Children and Childcare Arrangements

It is only normal for separation, divorce or the breakdown of any relationship to cause distress for any children involved.  At OTS Solicitors, our family law team have years of experience helping parents work out the best arrangements for their children.  We help parents come together to reach an agreement that will withstand changing circumstances (such as one parent meeting a new partner), and the vicissitudes of everyday life.

To speak to our top family law solicitors based in London, please contact us on 0207 936 9960, or contact us through our online enquiry form.

At OTS Solicitors, our family law team possess a wealth of experience advising and representing clients in disputes over childcare arrangements.  We provide caring, practical advice in a friendly, sensitive manner.  Our primary aim is to look after your best interests and those of your children.

Our family lawyers in London are headed by Rakhi Singal.  Rakhi has over five years’ experience in family law and litigation.  Rakhi and her team believe in resolving family law disputes in a non-confrontational manner.  As with all the best family lawyers, we are committed to helping couples work out arrangements for their children in a peaceful manner, reaching workable solutions that will survive inevitably changing circumstances in the future.

Resolution

Rakhi is a member of Resolution, an organization whose members follow a Code of Practice that promotes a non-confrontational approach to family problems. Members encourage solutions that consider the needs of the whole family - and in particular, the best interests of children when negotiating arrangements.  The group also lobbies for changes in family law to ensure it is meeting the needs of the community.

The Law Around Arrangements for Children After a divorce

When the court is considering any matters concerning the upbringing of a child, the child’s welfare is the paramount consideration.

When filing for divorce, a Statement of Arrangements must also be submitted to the court. This outlines the care arrangements you and your partner have agreed to for your children.  Knowing that amicably agreed childcare arrangements are more likely to stick and thus provide stability for the children, the judiciary will only get involved in sorting out child arrangements as a last resort.

Our experienced family law team can assist you to work out a childcare agreement with your partner.  We have a wealth of experience in this area of family law, and a high success rate of negotiating arrangements amicably and quickly.

Disputes Surrounding child care Arrangements

If you cannot agree with your estranged spouse on arrangements for your children, you will come under the Child Arrangements Programme.  This programme, introduced in 2014, removes the terms ‘custody’ and ‘access’ and replaces them with a ‘child arrangement order.'  It is designed to assist families to reach safe and child-focused agreements for their child, where possible outside the court setting.  If parents/families are unable to reach an agreement, and a court application is made, the Child Arrangement Programme encourages swift resolution of the dispute through the Court.

The Role of Mediation in a child care Arrangement Dispute

If you are unable to agree on living arrangements for your children, the court will ask you both to attend a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) to see if mediation proceedings will help you reach an agreement. 

There are situations where couples are exempt from attending a MIAM, for example, if there is a history of violence and/or abuse in the relationship.

During mediation, it is important for the welfare of your children to work with the Mediator to decide:

  • where will the children primarily reside?
  • how, when and where the parent with whom the children will not primarily reside, will see them
  • how they will be supported financially
  • where they will spend school holidays
  • who will pay for school fees (if applicable)

Mediation has proven to be an effective process, allowing many couples to work out arrangements for their children between themselves, without the stress and expense of having to go to court. 

Our experienced family law solicitors can support you through the MIAM and/or mediation process, or advise you as to whether an exemption to a MIAM applies to your situation.

Our Approach to Child Arrangement Matters

We fully believe that in cases of separation and divorce, the child’s welfare is paramount.  By dealing with cases sensitively and firmly, we have proven time and time again that our family law team can bring estranged couples together in an amicable way to work out the best arrangements for their children.

Our family solicitors strive to, where possible, negotiate arrangements that not only meet the needs of the children but also provide both parents with the means to adjust to their new situation, without undue disturbance.  Normally we succeed in achieving this through negotiation and/or mediation.  But sometimes parties cannot or should not (due to factors such as domestic violence) reach agreement through these methods, and litigation is inevitable.

If this is the case, we can represent you on an application for a Child Arrangements Order, which is made by the court.  A Child Arrangement Order may include restrictions on your child being removed from the UK if you are concerned that your partner may try and abduct them.   If there has been a history of violence and/or abuse in the relationship, the Child Arrangement Order may make provisions for any contact to be made under the supervision of a third party.

We will ensure both you and your children’s voices are heard by the judge and that proceedings are run in a calm, respectful manner.

Parents trust us to assist them with working out arrangements for the care and comfort of their children; a responsibility we take very seriously.  By approaching each case in a bespoke manner, we ensure every family who comes to us feels fully supported throughout the process.

International Adoption

At OTS Solicitors, our family law team have years of experience in inter-country adoption.  We help prospective parents navigate the often-complex laws around adopting a child from overseas.  We are an award-winning law firm and are highly-ranked in the Legal 500. Please check our Subsections below for further details on international adoption or to speak to our top family law solicitors based in London, please contact us on 0207 936 9960, or contact us through our online enquiry form.

For a more detailed discussion regarding arrangements for your children, or to book an appointment with a member of our family law team, please call us now on 0207 936 9960.

Children and Childcare Arrangements subsections

International Adoption

At OTS Solicitors, our family law team have years of experience in inter-country adoption.  We help prospective parents navigate the often-complex laws around adopting a child from overseas.  We are an award-winning law firm and are highly-ranked in the Legal 500.

To speak to our top family law solicitors based in London, please contact us on 0207 936 9960, or contact us through our online enquiry form.

At OTS Solicitors, our family law team possess a wealth of experience advising and representing on inter-country adoption matters.  We provide caring, practical advice in a friendly, sensitive manner.  Our primary aim is to consider the best interests of the child and assist you to bring them to the UK.  OTS Solicitors also specialises in Immigration Law.  Our immigration and family law collaborate extensively to ensure clients who are considering international adoption are supported through every stage of the process.

Rakhi Singal heads our family lawyers in London.  Rakhi has over five years’ experience in family law and litigation and is a member of Resolution, an organisation whose members follow a Code of Practice that promotes a non-confrontational approach to family problems.  Members encourage solutions that consider the needs of the whole family.  The group also lobbies for changes in family law to ensure it is meeting the needs of the community.

What are the residency criteria if I wish to adopt a child from overseas?

You are not required to be a British Citizen to adopt a child from a foreign country, but you do need Indefinite Leave to Remain or permanent residence.  You must also be habitually resident in the UK.  Our immigration solicitors can advise you whether or not you meet the criteria.

What is the application process for inter-country adoption?

There is a strict application process for adopting children from overseas, and failure to abide by it could see you commit a criminal offence.  We understand this process and can advise and represent you through every stage.

The first step in the process is to contact an adoption agency that specialises in overseas adoptions.  Our solicitors will not only work with you but also with the agency you choose to ensure your overseas adoption progresses smoothly.

The approval process will take around four to six months.  It will include attending training courses, interviews, one or more home visits with a social worker.

If you are approved, you will then be put on a waiting list until you are matched with a child.

 

Can I adopt from any country?

 When it comes to foreign adoption, countries are divided into three groups:

  • Hague Convention countries
  • designated list countries
  • countries that fit into neither category

Hague Convention Countries

The UK is a signatory country to the 1993 Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (the Hague Convention).  If you wish to adopt a child from another country which has signed up to the Hague Convention, you will need to follow the process the convention lays out.

In the UK, the Department of Education overseas Hague Convention adoptions.  All prospective adoptees must be approved under the process laid out in Article 17.  This means being approved by the relevant local body and an Article 17 certificate issued which concludes the assessment and approval process and states that neither central authority objects to the adoption proceeding.

A Hague Convention adoption is recognised under UK law, and the parent/s will not need to re-adopt the child once he or she enters Britain.  In addition, if one of the parents is a British Citizen, the child will automatically be granted British nationality.

Designated List countries

The Designated List refers to the list of countries that are named in the Adoption (Designation of Overseas Adoptions) Order 1973. The UK automatically recognises an adoption made in any of the countries named on the Designated List.  However, unlike an adoption from a Hague Convention country, you will need to apply for British Citizenship for the adopted child if your application is successful. 

The decision to grant British Citizenship is entirely at the discretion of the Home Office.  Our experienced immigrate department can organise an application for British Citizenship for you and answer any questions the Home Office has on your behalf.

Adopting from other countries

If the child you wish to adopt is from a country that is not a signatory to the Hague Convention or on the Designated List, any adoption will not be recognised under UK law, meaning you will need to apply to a UK court for an adoption order.

This process is governed by section 83 of the Adoption and Children Act 2002.  It outlines a strict process which must be followed by the prospective adopting parents.  This includes:

  • having a full assessment by a registered adoption agency
  • being notified that the Secretary of State has issued a certificate to the relevant authority in the child’s country
  • providing the adoption agency with all the information regarding the child you plan to adopt
  • visiting the child’s country
  • notify the adoption agency of the date the child will enter the UK
  • applying for an adoption order within two weeks of the child entering the UK

Do I have to be in a relationship to adopt a child from overseas?

You do not have to be in a relationship to adopt a child.  However, you must be over 21 years of age.

Let us advise you through the inter-country adoption process

Our family and Immigration Law solicitors have the experience you can rely on to help you navigate through the complicated process of adopting a child from overseas.  We are a friendly, sensitive, compassionate team, dedicated to caring for the best interests of the child and helping parents make their dreams of adopting from overseas materialise.

Many parents have entrusted us to assist them with adopting a child from overseas.  We take our responsibilities to them and the child extremely seriously.  By approaching each case in a bespoke manner, we ensure every family who comes to us feels fully supported throughout the inter-country adoption process.

For a more detailed discussion regarding inter-country adoption, or to book an appointment with a member of our family law team, please call us now on 0207 936 9960.

Adoption and Guardianship
Child Abduction
Child Care Proceedings
Child – Private Law
Surrogacy and Parental Order

For a more detailed discussion regarding your case, or to book an appointment with a member of our divorce and Family Law team, please call us now on 0207 936 9960 

Ask Our Experts A Question

Your question will be processed by us in accordance with our Legal Notice and Privacy and Cookies policy. By submitting a question, you consent to such processing and you warrant that all data provided by you is accurate. We reserve the right to display your question.'
The answer will be e-mailed to you.
if you would like us to call you back with a more detailed answer.

Vertical Tabs