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Disagreements concerning arrangements for children can present parents, grandparents and other family members with very difficult situations and decisions.
Our experienced team of family lawyers are experts in dealing with matters concerning children. We recognise and understand the sensitivities and impact that family law matters can have on children and believe that children should be considered at the heart of decisions.
Every family is unique and requires bespoke arrangements to ensure that the children’s best interests are promoted, their well-being is considered, and their various needs are met.
We are experienced in all methods of resolving issues relating to children, and well versed in resolving those issues without court proceedings - Viberts Family Law Partner, Rose Colley is a member of and is trained by the charity Resolution whose primary focus is on reducing conflict between parties and keeping children in mind.
We can also support with those situations where the relationship has broken down completely and a judge is appointed to make the difficult decisions.
Our team are on hand to advise you and steer you to achieve the best possible outcome for your children.
Adoption and Surrogacy
Surrogacy may be an option you are considering. It is always recommended that you take legal advice early on so that you understand what is required to ensure that you (and your partner) are the legal parent(s) of your child at the end of the process. Being a legal parent is different to parental responsibility and the two give different legal rights and responsibilities. In Jersey, ensuring that your child is legally recognised as being yours, is a more complicated and uncertain area and requires specialist legal advice which you should seek as soon as possible.
You may also be thinking about adoption. Private adoptions can be obtained in respect of children who
Things are a little more complicated if you are looking to adopt a child from another country. As with adopting within the UK, you need to be approved as a suitable prospective adopter by an adoption agency authorised to deal with inter-country adoptions. However, you will also need to adhere to the adoption eligibility requirements of the country you are looking to adopt from.
In certain circumstances, e.g. neglect, emotional or physical abuse of a child, it becomes necessary for the Minister for Children and Housing to issue care proceedings in respect of the child.
There are various complex stages involved with childcare proceedings and anyone involved as a parent (and occasionally as a grandparent) must take urgent legal advice. It is possible to appoint a lawyer privately to represent you in Childcare proceedings. However, Advocates in Jersey should be appointed to the “Children’s Panel” of lawyers who are recognised as being suitably qualified and experienced to deal with childcare proceedings.
Viberts currently have several Advocates who sit on the Children’s Panel in recognition of their ability in this area.
What is child abduction
Child abduction is where a child is wrongfully removed from Jersey without the consent of anyone with parental responsibility for the child. Child abduction is also a criminal offence. If someone is worried that their child might be abducted (whether they have parental responsibility or not) they can apply for an injunction to prevent the removal of the child from Jersey if the threat is immediate or, if there is a disagreement about whether a child should live somewhere else, then an application for a prohibited steps order can be made. Viberts’ family law team can help with this. We would suggest that if you think there is a risk of a child being taken out of Jersey you should seek legal advice as soon as possible.
If a child is taken from Jersey unlawfully, steps need to be taken immediately and legal advice should be obtained urgently. Jersey is a party to The Hague Convention on child abduction, but not all countries to which a child may be unlawfully taken are members of the Hague Convention in return. In these cases, the law is even more complicated.
Child Contact and Residence
Who has parental responsibility for looking after children, and how to apply for parental responsibility if you were unmarried to the mother or aren't on the birth certificate?
What is parental responsibility?
Parental responsibility is difficult to define, but it includes the right to make important decisions about a child’s education, religion, health care and where a child lives. If there is a dispute regarding a parental responsibility issue and the parents cannot agree then the decision is made by the court. A parent does not have to have parental responsibility in order to have contact (or residence) of a child. Similarly, a parent can be ordered to pay child maintenance even if they do not have parental responsibility.
Who has parental responsibility?
- A mother automatically has parental responsibility.
- If the father is married to the mother at the time of the child’s birth, then he will automatically have parental responsibility too.
- If a residence order is made in relation to the child, then that person acquires parental responsibility e.g. a grandparent.
- An unmarried father does not have parental responsibility automatically unless the child was born after 2 December 2016 and his name is on the child’s birth certificate.
In all other cases an unmarried father either has to enter into a parental responsibility agreement with the mother or it can be ordered by the court.
Our experienced family lawyers can advise you on mothers’ and fathers’ rights, and routes to obtaining parental responsibility including parental responsibility agreements and parental responsibility orders. We can help where there is a dispute regarding parental responsibility, or an issue associated with it.
Prohibited Steps Orders and Specific Issue Orders
Specific Issue Orders (“SIOs”) and Prohibited Steps Orders (“PSOs”) are applications made by a parent to either ask the court for permission to do something relating to parental responsibility (SIOs) or to stop the other parent from doing something relating to a parental responsibility (PSOs). Examples of these types of orders includes applications to move to another country; applications to administer medical treatment (or stop it); and applications to send a child to a specific school.
Free 30 Minute Family Law Consultation
The large size of the team along with its stellar reputation in children and money work. They appear to be willing to embrace all forms of ADR ahead of other Jersey firms.
Legal 500 2023
Thank you Rose, Alexandra and the team for getting my little girl back and giving me my life back.
Thank you so much for all your hard work and assistance during an extremely difficult time. I can now start looking forward! Thanks again.
You were amazing.
Viberts are one of only a couple of Jersey firms that can truly handle serious family law litigation on the island. They don’t play at it and won’t drop the ball. They are excellent lawyers and good value for money.
Legal 500 2022
I felt heard and my needs respected which is something I’ve not felt in what seems a very long time.
Areas of Expertise
Divorce, Separation & Financial Statements
Resolution Outside of Court
'Family Aid' at Viberts
Holding Court – The Jersey law podcast – Episode 5: Children
Related Links & Downloads
Free 30 Minute Family Law Consultation
Family Law Jargon Buster