Children Law

Our specialist children’s law team provides expert advice and practical solutions to families facing a variety of legal issues relating to children and young people. From establishing living and contact arrangements in the event of relationship breakdown through C100 forms and child arrangement orders to threats of abduction and children being taken into care, our family law specialists will help you to understand and evaluate the potential solutions and make the best possible arrangements for your children.

We recognise that children can very often become the focal point of friction and discord within families – but also that they are individuals who deserve special care and protection when the adults in their lives are in dispute. That’s why our experienced professionals take a uniquely sympathetic approach to legal matters involving and affecting children – and are positioned to act quickly and decisively when the situation requires.

Child arrangement lawyers (Residence and contact)

Whether you are married or not, determining who the children should live with when a relationship breaks down is one of the most difficult and potentially distressing issues that a parent may have to deal with. This is known as Child Arrangements, although many people still use the terms residence or child custody. As well as deciding where a child should live, separating couples may also need to address issues such as when, where and how often a child should see their other parent, their grandparents and their extended family. Previously called contact, this is now known as ’spending time’ with a child. These are often highly emotive issues, particularly where relationships have broken down and temperatures are running high. Our family lawyers will help you understand your options – and the rights and obligations of your former partner – so that you can make informed decisions.

We can also advise you on the important and potentially disputed issue of parental responsibility.

Our team of experts will take time to guide you through the various orders the family court can make and help you to reach a solution that is in the best interests of the children. This may be through negotiation, mediation or Court proceedings and may involve professional experts or a Children and Family Court Advisory Support Services (CAFCASS) officer.

Care proceedings lawyers

Coodes’ experienced family team advises on a wide range of care-related matters, working with parents, grandparents, guardians and local authorities to secure the best possible outcomes for the children and young people concerned. Many of our lawyers are members of the Law Society Children Panel and are recognised specialists in court proceedings where the Local Authority Social Services children’s department is involved.

The prospect of care proceedings can seem intimidating. Our family law specialists will help you understand the process, come with you to initial meetings if required and help you work with Social Services to resolve the problems.

If care proceedings are started at court, we can represent you at all levels within the Family Court and coordinate any additional specialists, for example expert witnesses and barristers, where appropriate.

From supervision, care or special guardianship orders to long-term foster-care placements and adoption we can help you with any and all public law children cases.

Threat of abduction lawyers

The risk of child abduction is very real for some families. If you are concerned that your child may be at risk of abduction to another country or area by a partner, former partner or other family member, contact us immediately. Our specialist family team can advise parents, grandparents and others on what action you can take.

For more advice on addressing the threat of child abduction, contact one of our family lawyers.

Parental responsibility lawyers

Our team of experienced family lawyers can advise you on all aspects of parental responsibility – your rights and responsibilities in respect of your children. Having parental responsibility grants you legal rights and decision-making responsibilities across a wide range of potentially disputed issues, including their name, where they should live, how they should be educated, any medical treatment they may require, any property and assets they may have, and aspects of their religious upbringing such as whether they should participate in any faith-specific rituals such as baptism or circumcision.

We will help you understand what your rights and obligations are, how far they extend and how to gain parental responsibility if you do not currently have it, including DNA-testing to establish or disprove parenthood. Mothers will have parental responsibility for their children upon birth, but fathers may need legal advice on this matter as their rights and responsibilities vary depending on whether they were married to the child’s mother or not.

Speak confidentially to one of our family lawyers for guidance about the best path for you, by calling us now on 01726 874 700 or email


Sarah Evans

Head of Family

Elise Alma


Angela Briggs

Chartered Legal Executive

News & Events

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Sarah Evans

Head of Family

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