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Paul J Watson Solicitor - 116 Borough Road - Middlesbrough - TS1 2ES - T: 01642 293427 - E:

Category Archives: Family Matters

What happens at a Child Protection Conference?

Our Family Solicitor in Middlesbrough explains what happens at a Child Protection Meeting;-

The child protection meeting will be led by the Chair; this is an independent safeguarding officer who makes sure that the meeting follows the correct schedule.

There will also be a minute-taker at the child protection meeting, who writes down everything that happens, to allow a report to be provided to everyone involved.

At the meeting it has to be decided whether the child is at “continuing risk of significant harm”.

The test for this is in three parts;-

1. The child can be shown to have suffered ill-treatment or impairment of health or development as a

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What is a Contact Activity Order?

Family Solicitors

Our Middlesbrough Family Solicitor explains;-

If a judge has ordered you to so something within Children Act proceedings, this is often called a Contact Activity Order. This Order can cover issues such as attending a parenting course or attending family mediation.

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Changes to Legal Aid – April 2013

Family Solicitors

Our Middlesbrough Solicitor writes about the legal aid changes to family law;-

So the 1st April 2013 has brought major changes to welfare and benefits and your entitlement to legal aid – but what does this actually mean to you?

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children-solicitor-middlesbroughAdoption Process Guidance & FAQs -Our Family Solicitors in Middlesbrough explain;-

In order to be adopted, a child must:

  • be under the age of 18 when the adoption application is made;
  • not be (or have ever been) married or in a civil partnership.
  • The child’s birth parents

Normally, both birth parents have to agree (consent) to the adoption, unless:

  • They cannot be found
  • They are incapable of giving consent – e.g. due to a mental disability
  • The child would be put at risk if they were not adopted
  • Who can adopt a child?

You may be able to adopt a child if you are aged 21 or over (there is no upper age limit) and are either:

  • single;
  • married;
  • in a civil partnership;
  • an unmarried couple (same sex and opposite sex);
  • the partner of the child’s parent.
  • There are different rules for private adoptions and adoptions of looked-after children.

Do I have to live in the UK to adopt a child?

You do not need to be a British citizen to adopt a child, but:

  • At least one of you must have a fixed and permanent home in the UK (or the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man);
  • Both of you must have lived in the UK for at least one year before you begin the application process.
    Early stages of adoption

To adopt a child you can go through either:

  • The adoption agency that is part of your local council
  • A voluntary adoption agency

The adoption process

The basic process is as follows:

  • You contact an adoption agency – it will send you information about the adoption process.
  • The agency arranges to meet you – you may also be invited to a meeting with other people wanting to adopt a child.
  • If you and the agency agree to carry on, the agency will give you an application form.
  • The time it takes to adopt can vary – but it normally takes at least 8 months.

Adopting a stepchild

If you want to adopt your spouse’s or partner’s child, you need to tell your local council. You must do this at least 3 months before applying to a court

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Child Law – What is the Children Act 1989?

Family Solicitors

Our Middlesbrough Solicitor explains;-

The Children Act 1989 is the statute (i.e. the law) which states what a court can or cannot do when making orders about children. It covers all different kinds of situations, such as child residence, child contact and changing a child’s name, all the way through to care proceedings and child abduction.

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Child Law – What is the ‘welfare checklist’?

Family Solicitors

Our Middlesbrough Family Solicitors explain;-

When a court is considering any decision about the well-being and upbringing of a child then the child’s welfare should always be the priority of the judge. The welfare checklist sets out for the court and the professionals all the areas that must be considered when making a decision about a child, whether this is about child contact, child residence or other orders.

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Child Law – What is the ‘no order principle’?

Family Solicitors

Our Middlesbrough Family Solicitors explain;-

This is a really important principle that the court must always consider. The court must start from the position that no order shall be made unless the court ‘considers that doing so would be better for the child than making no order at all’.

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Child Law – The role of the Children’s Guardian

What is a Childrens Guardian?

Children’s Guardians are qualified in social work and trained and experienced in working with children and families. They are appointed by the court to represent the rights and interests of children in cases that involve social services. They are independent of social services, courts and everyone else involved in the case. Children’s Guardians work for CAFCASS or may be self-employed. Their role is to consider what is best for the child at all times during a case. The important part is that they are independent, they do not always

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