Stage 1 – Assessing Your Application

In order to be successful in your application, you should have grounds for applying for an order in relation to (Custody) residence, contact or parental responsibility:

Custody Orders - Residence Orders

You can apply for a residence order in the following cases:

  • The existing parent with custody has a drug/alcohol problem that they cannot get under control
  • You have proof that the child is being neglected repeatedly ( no food, left unsupervised, left in the presence of someone who is abusive/neglectful)
  • You have proof that the parent is a risk to the child (charged with risk of injury)
  • You have proof that the parent is physically or sexually abusive
  • You have proof that the parent left the child with someone who is physically/sexually abusive - not necessarily towards your child
  • If the parent with existing custody is living or married to a registered sex offender (depending on circumstances)

Parental Responsibility Agreements*

You can apply for a parental responsibility agreement in the following cases:

  • Unmarried couples who have children together (Please note, the father of any child born before 1st December 2003, who is not married to the mother does not have parent responsibility, even if the relationship is ongoing and the father is named on the birth certificate. If the child was born after 1st December 2003 then a father only has parental responsibility if he is named on the certificate. The father of any child born after 1st December 2003, who does not have his name on the child’s birth certificate, does not have parental responsibility)
  • Unmarried couples where one is the biological parent (Please note, if you have an ex partner who does have parental responsibility, he or she would have to agree to this)
  • Civil partnerships where only one party is the biological parent (Please note, if you have an ex partner who does have parental responsibility, he or she would have to agree to this)
  • Married couples where only one party is the biological parent (Please note, if you have an ex partner who does have parental responsibility, he or she would have to agree to this

*Please note, parental responsibility agreements have a different procedure to all other orders and applications. Once you have compiled your questionnaire and we have produced all of your documentation, you simply have to check and sign the paperwork, and attend your local county court with both parties’ passports and the child’s/children’s birth certificates.

Parental Responsibility Orders

You can apply for a parental responsibility order in the following cases:

  • Unmarried couples where one is the biological parent, and the non biological parent has lived with the child/children for three out of the last five years and in the three months leading up to your application (Please note, if you have an ex partner who does have parental responsibility, he or she does not have to agree to this)
  • Civil partnerships where only one party is the biological parent, and the non biological parent has lived with the child/children for three out of the last five years and in the three months leading up to your application (Please note, if you have an ex partner who does have parental responsibility, he or she does not have to agree to this)
  • Married couples where only one party is the biological parent, and the non biological parent has lived with the child/children for three out of the last five years and in the three months leading up to your application (Please note, if you have an ex partner who does have parental responsibility, he or she does not have to agree to this)

Visitation Rights (Contact or Access Orders)

Family courts have a principle called “presumption of contact,” under which they have to do everything possible for biological parents to see their children.

You can apply for a contact order if you are:

  • a parent or guardian of the child
  • a partner of one of the parents (whether they are married, in a civil union or in a de facto relationship) if they’ve been sharing day-to-day care of the child
  • any member of the child’s family, or other family group who gets the court’s permission to apply
  • anyone else who gets the court’s permission to apply

Certain other people can apply if one of the parents:

  • has died
  • is stopped by the Family Court from having contact with the child, or
  • is not trying to have any contact with the child

The other people who can apply in those cases are as follows:

  • the mother or father of the parent who is dead or who is not having contact with the child
  • a brother or sister of that parent
  • a brother or sister of the child

The Judge will take the following into consideration:

  • What the child wishes, if he or she is old enough to make any kind of decision
  • The educational and emotional needs of the child
  • Whether there’s any risk of harm to the child
  • Whether you’re capable of meeting the child’s needs during contact

These might seem possibly weighted against you, but the sole intent is for the welfare of the child. In the vast majority of cases – well over 90% of all Contact Orders are granted.

If you need clarification on any of the above, please call our customer care phone line on 0800 8405 437 for assistance on assessing the validity of your application. Custody Action UK is here to help you from the initial assessment stage, right through to the official submission of your application, making the process as easy and as stress free as possible.


Stage 2 – Letter before Action

Often, applying through the courts can be a lengthy process that you simply don’t want to embark on when you want to see your children as soon as possible. Custody Action UK specialise in this field of trying to get you the best outcome, in the shortest period of time. Whether you are applying for custody, parental responsibility or contact, we can try to negotiate your terms with the other parent out of court, to try and come to form of arrangement that you are happy with.

This part of our service is not mandatory, and if you wish to proceed straight to court and avoid out of court settlement negotiations then this is an option you can take. We simply try and obtain you the most positive outcome in the least possible amount of time!

Often a third party letter from "Custody Action UK" or one of our family law lawyers is all it takes for a negotiated arrangement to take place!

*Ensure please details of your contact proposal is contained within your questionnaire as this will prevent any further delay.


Stage 3 – Making Your Application

Your claim must be submitted on an officially approved court form that must contain information such as yours and the other parent’s name and address, details of your application and whether or not you feel any harm is likely to come to the child. Custody Action UK assists you throughout the entire process, providing all the information you will need to submit your application, along with telephone operators to assist you every step of the way. No other online provider can provide this level of service to their customers.

Dependant on the service level you require, it is as simple as completing an online questionnaire specially geared towards your needs and requirements. Based on this, we can produce all the court documentation you will require, out of court arrangement letters and professional legal advice from your very own dedicated family law lawyer. We do ask that you be very precise.


Stage 4 – Submission of Application

Dependant on the service level you require, we can complete and post all your documentation out to you first class, for you to check, sign and submit to your local county court. We can even email your completed documentation to you for you to download and print to save time.

Your application will not be accepted if (i) you have not used an approved form, (ii) given incomplete information, or (iii) not completed each and every aspect of your court forms, this is why you should sign up to Custody Action UK today, let us ensure that your claim is submitted correctly, and in time for your rights to be acknowledged enabling you to spend your valuable time with your children.


Stage 5 – Acceptance of Application

If your application is accepted, you will receive a hearing date from the court and a case number. A copy of your application will then be sent to the other parent asking them to attend the hearing.


Stage 6 – The Hearing

The Judge will decide the next steps or conclusion of your case at the hearing.

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