Tag Archive: children matters

  1. Child Arrangement Issues Explained

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    The breakdown of a relationship is always a difficult experience, particularly when there are children to think about. You only want what’s best for them, but amidst the fallout, wires can become crossed and it’s not always the case that both parents see eye to eye.

    At DRN, we have a dedicated team of experts in family and children matters, who have set out some advice below for those struggling with child arrangements.


    What are child arrangements?

    Child arrangements were previously referred to by the courts as “contact arrangements”. When a relationship breaks down, the parents involved will need to reach an agreement on the arrangements for their child, including which parent the child will live with and how often the other parent will spend time with the child.

    ‘Direct arrangements’ between a parent and child refers to any time spent face-to-face, and can include during the daytime or overnight.

    ‘Indirect arrangements’ is the term used for any occurrences where the parent might keep in touch with the child without physically visiting them. This can include engaging in telephone conversations, email or written letter exchanges or the sending of gifts.


    Who is entitled to spend time with a child?

    Contrary to popular belief, having parental responsibility and/or being named on a child’s birth certificate does not give an automatic right to spend time with a child. Any arrangements should be agreed on the terms of what is best for the child, not the parent, or any other person.

    In cases of separation, the parent the child lives with can usually make arrangements for time which the other parent should spend time with their child. Any arrangements should usually only be restricted in instances where it is felt necessary to safeguard the child.

    Agreements can be outlined for any person who maintains a close relationship with the child, including grandparents, aunts and uncles, brothers and sisters, and close friends.

    In most cases, both parents are able to reach an amicable agreement and arrange time on terms which suit both parties. However, if this is not the case, it may become necessary to seek legal advice, and the expert solicitors at DRN can help.


    What if my child is not picked up or brought home on time?

    Both parents should try to stick to the agreed times for pick-up and drop-off to the best of their ability, although some understanding on either part should be given for delays caused by public transport, traffic or emergency.


    The parent of my child has not made a maintenance payment – are they still entitled to contact?

    Issues relating to child maintenance and issues related to child arrangements are seen as entirely separate from one another in the eyes of the law. For this reason, you will not be justified in refusing the non-resident parent time with their child on the basis that they have not paid maintenance for the child.


    I need further advice – what should I do next?

    With an understanding of all policies and procedures involved, your DRN solicitor will be able to provide sound advice and guidance throughout the process of settling your child arrangement issues, along with expert legal representation and an entirely confidential and reliable service. Get in touch today for more information about our services and find out how we can help you to achieve a favourable outcome.

  2. New Operation Encompass scheme will help police protect children

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    A charity-based scheme has been launched in Lancashire to link schools with the Police to help protect children from domestic abuse.

    Operation Encompass initially launched in a number of locations across the UK in 2011 as a trial, and has proven so effective that it is now being rolled out throughout the country. The scheme enables schools and Police to partner up, creating a more effective means of communication between them.

    Confidential and Secure

    The scheme ensures that key information passed on from school to Police or vice-versa about domestic abuse incidents is only shared with designated staff members under the strictest confidence – no details are widely shared in order to protect the children it is serving. This enables the immediate and discrete recognition of the child’s situation by an individual named as the “Key Adult”, ensuring a secure and sympathetic environment is provided and the broader effects of abuse are addressed.

    The aim of this information sharing process is to ensure that every child involved in any domestic abuse-related incidents receives the appropriate on-going support they need, and to make sure that existing safeguarding measures are being effectively provided. Operation Encompass will function alongside any police investigations.

    What will Operation Encompass set out to do?

    Operation Encompass is essentially an early information sharing partnership. What the scheme will set out to do in Lancashire will be to enable Police to work with schools to give children who have experienced an incident – even indirectly – the support they need. This begins prior to the next school day, ensuring plans are in place for when the child arrives in the morning and so that the Key Adult can discuss with the child what they need and how they would like to be supported.

    Why was Operation Encompass launched in Lancashire?

    Experiencing domestic abuse is harmful to children; it is often referred to as an Adverse Childhood Experience and can lead to emotional, physical and psychological harm, as well as potentially creating long-lasting issues such as the development of depression, stress, anxiety and other psychological issues.

    In Lancashire and across the country, Operation Encompass aims to reduce the negative effects of domestic abuse on children by making it simpler and easier for immediate support to be provided.

    On the Operation Encompass website, they state their goal as simply: “Making a child’s day better and giving them a better tomorrow.

    Coordinating the scheme for Lancashire Police is Detective Superintendent Joanne McHugh, who said: “We know that there are damaging, long-term effects for children who live in homes where domestic abuse takes place. They are often the ‘hidden’ victims and their voices don’t always get heard.”

    “We also know that the police are generally not called after one domestic abuse incident – in fact, statistics show on average we aren’t made aware until several incidents have already taken place, many of which may have been witnessed by children. This is why it is imperative that we seize every opportunity to make sure those children are offered the necessary support.”

    “At Lancashire Police, our primary aim is to keep our residents safe and feeling safe, and we hope this shows our commitment to doing just that. Op Encompass is a very simple but very effective scheme which will help safeguard some of the most vulnerable people in our communities.”

    Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw also added: “We know that over 90% of domestic violence incidents are witnessed by children so I am really pleased to see Operation Encompass rolled out across Lancashire.

    For more information about our family law solicitors, or to talk to a member of our family law and children matters team in confidence, please call 01282 433 241.