Child Custody Solicitors

Understanding Child Custody Proceedings

If Children’s Services and the Local Authority believe that a child in your care is suffering or is likely to suffer harm as a result of your care, they may decide to apply to the Court.

If they consider that your family needs assistance but that your child does not need to be placed outside of the family, they will apply for a Supervision Order. On rare occasions, in an emergency, alternative orders may be sought such as Emergency Protection Orders or Secure Accommodation Orders.

It is also possible that the Police could become involved and remove your child under Police Protection. The Court proceedings for Care or Supervision Orders are identical.  The only difference is where your child will live whilst the proceedings are taking place and who will have PR.


Threshold Criteria

In order for Children’s Services to persuade the Court that care or supervision is needed, they need to show that your child is suffering or is at risk of suffering significant harm in your care. This is known as the Threshold Criteria.

At the end of the proceedings, the Court will make decisions as to the future of your child.  This could involve the child being placed back in your care, in the care of a family member or outside the family.

It is open to the Court to make a number of orders at the conclusion of the proceedings, including the following:

• Child arrangements Order

• Special Guardianship Order

• Supervision Order

• Placement Order which allows Children’s Services to place your child for Adoption


Making Arrangements For Your Children

The spouses in question can usually avoid going to court hearings if you can come to an agreement on:

  • Where your child will live
  • The amount of time they will spend with each parent
  • Supporting your children financially

However, if the couple are unable to come to an agreement on their child’s custody, things can get complicated. The court will consider factors to take into account if you are unable to reach an agreement:

  • The child’s best interests, wishes and feelings (important to consider for older children)
  • The physical, emotional and educational needs of your child
  • What effect changes in circumstances could have on your child
  • The child’s age, gender, circumstances and any other relevant background
  • The potential for any risk of harm
  • The capability of each parent when it comes to taking care of your child’s needs


The Next Steps

If you are notified by Children’s Services of their intention to apply for Care or Supervision Orders, we recommend that you immediately instruct a Solicitor to assist you and to represent you at the Court hearings. At Hepburn Delaney, we have a specialist team of Lawyers and support staff dealing with Child Protection and Public Law proceedings including Care and Supervision order applications.

If you have any queries regarding Child Custody, please do not hesitate to contact us. Feel free to call us on 01442 218090, send an email to or fill out our enquiry form and speak to one of our Child Custody Solicitors today.

Working with a family business

Hepburn Delaney was established in 2013 by Jane Hepburn and Rebecca Delaney who had worked together for several years before deciding to set up a specialist family law practice. Our intention has always been to provide a niche, bespoke service to clients seeking advice on a broad range of family matters and we remain committed to this approach.


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