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Child Law

At K J Smith Solicitors, our expert child law specialists have experience in handling all matters relating to children in the event of a breakdown in a relationship, whether you are married or not.

Child Law services we offer

K J Smith offer a range of child law services, from change of name deeds to court orders. Our team of child law specialists are able to advise on the following matters:

Change of Name

To legally change the name of your child you must submit a Change of Name deed. This is a legal document that records an intended change of name.

If you wish to change the name of your child, our team specialist child law solicitors can aid you throughout the process.

Court Orders

The courts can issue a range of different orders designed to protect children, these include:

  • Emergency protection orders
  • Supervision orders
  • Care orders

These orders are often applied for by the local council when they believe that a child isn’t being cared for and is suffering significant harm. If you are issued with any of these orders, you can initiate an appeal process to contest the order.

Family Mediation

If you wish to resolve the matter regarding your child outside of court, mediation may be the best option for you and your family.

We provide a professional family mediation service that can help you and your family navigate through the issue and come to a civil conclusion outside of the courts.

Adoption & Surrogacy

Adoption and surrogacy can be a lengthy process. If you are looking to adopt a child or are considering surrogacy, our child law specialists can advise and guide you through the legal process to ensure that all the correct documentation is in place.

Child Abduction

Child abduction occurs when one parent takes the child out of the country without the other parents’ permission.

We recommend that you seek other routes, such as mediation, beforehand but if these have exhausted then our specialist child abduction solicitors can help defend your decision to take your child abroad or have them remain in the country.

Child Representation

In some cases, it may be appropriate for the child to have separate legal representation during the case. In these cases, our solicitors can represent your child and their best interests.

Our child representation solicitors are fully qualified and experienced in representing children during legal disputes.

Child Arrangement Orders

A Child Arrangement Order can help to determine where a child lives and whom they spend time with. Our team of child law solicitors can help you with the following situations:

  • Where your children live and how often they spend time with the other parent.
  • Financial arrangements for your children which may include matters such as child maintenance.
  • Who has access to your children and when they can visit or spend time with your children.
  • Grandparents’ rights and their access to the children.

A sensitive and caring approach

We pride ourselves on handling all cases with the utmost care and sensitivity.

When couples separate, if they have children, there are often significant issues that need to be addressed. For example, it may be where the child or children are going to live or how much time they will spend with each parent. There may even be issues relating to the children's welfare.

Resolving issues during and after divorce

I don’t think it is possible to tell you how grateful I am. You were a calming influence throughout.

For married couples, matters relating to their children are usually decided in conjunction with the divorce process. However, this is not always the case as issues can arise months or even years after a divorce has been finalised.

It is important to understand that issues relating to children that arise after a divorce, perhaps due to a change of circumstances, can still be handled and resolved. Contact us and we can explain more about how we can help you.

Support for unmarried couples

Unmarried couples with children have access to the same legal remedies in relation to children as married couples. In all cases, the objective is to reach an agreement regarding the care of a child or children, or to resolve a specific issue. This can often be done amicably, without the need to go to court. It is our aim to help this to happen. However, sometimes court is required when parents are unable to find a suitable resolution between themselves. Whatever the circumstances, we will keep you informed, offer clear advice and guide you through each step of the process.

Video Conferencing - Meet Our Lawyers

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Finding the right lawyer can be a difficult job, therefore why not arrange a free 45-minute consultation at one of our offices or arrange a video consultation with us via Zoom, WhatsApp, MeetMe or Facetime.

Our flexible video conferencing service is available Monday to Friday from 8:30am to 6pm, until 9pm on Thursdays and between 10am and 3pm on Saturdays.

Free, no obligation consultation

For a free initial 45 minute consultation about your circumstances and how we could help you should you wish to instruct us, please call your local office.

Please contact our team today on 01491 630000 (Henley on Thames), 0118 418 1000 (Reading Head Office), 0118 418 1200 (Reading Central), 01256 584000 (Basingstoke), 01483 370100 (Guildford), 01494 629000 (Beaconsfield), 01344 513000 (Ascot), 01635 785 100 (Newbury), 01962 587900 (Winchester), 0204 599 7400 (Richmond) or email info@kjsmith.co.uk.

We also serve a wide range of other areas including Abingdon, Bracknell, Gerrards Cross, Maidenhead, Marlow, Oxford, Slough, Wokingham, Pangbourne, and High Wycombe.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is parental resonsibility?

What is Parental Responsibility (thumb)According to the Children Act 1989 Section 3, parental responsibility is “all the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which by law a parent of a child has in relation to the child and his property”.

This means, as a parent, you are responsible for:

  • Providing a home for your child.
  • Protecting and maintaining the welfare of your child.
  • Making important decisions on your child’s behalf; for example, regarding religion, education, health, etc.
  • Taking care of your child’s property.
  • Deciding the child’s name and consenting to any changes.

Parental responsibility ends when your child turns 18 but can end prematurely if your child is married between the ages of 16 and 18 or if an adoption order overrides the birth parents’ responsibility.

What is MIAM?

MIAM Mediation (thumb)A MIAM, or Mediation Information & Assessment Meeting, is the first meeting with a mediator.These meetings often last about an hour and provides the opportunity to tell the mediator about the situation and the issues that need to be resolved.

Once the meeting is over, the mediator will be able to tell if your case is suitable for mediation and you can decide whether you would like to proceed with the process or not.

What are Grandparents Rights?

What are Grandparents Rights (thumb)Unfortunately, grandparents do not have an automatic right to contact their grandchildren. However, you can apply for a Contact Order, but you must apply for permission first.

During this process the court will consider:

  • The connection to the child.
  • The nature of the application.
  • Whether the application could be harmful to the child’s welfare.

If successful, you can apply for a Contact Order to gain access to your grandchildren. If either, or both, of the child’s parents object, you may have to attend a full hearing on the matter.

Our Office Locations

All our offices are easily accessible by road, rail or bus and we are open Monday to Friday from 8:30am to 6:00pm. With today's busy schedules, we offer telephone appointments outside normal office hours until 9pm on Thursdays and between 10am and 3pm on Saturdays.

Not sure which office is closest to you? Try our Office Finder.

If you would like to visit our team of family solicitors, we have offices in Henley-on-Thames, Woodley, Reading (Head Office), Reading (Central), Basingstoke, Guildford, Beaconsfield, Ascot, Newbury & Winchester. We serve a wide range of other areas including Abingdon, Bracknell, Gerrards Cross, Maidenhead, Marlow, Oxford, Slough, High Wycombe and Wokingham.

Why not contact our team of divorce solicitors for a free initial consultation today? We offer a free initial consultation that can take place in any one of our offices or over the telephone.

Client Testimonials

We are proud to have represented many excellent clients. Below are some comments our clients have made about us.

Join Our Team

We are always looking for exceptional people to join our team.

Whether you are considering a move now or at some point in the future, we would love to hear from you and learn more about your career goals and motivations.

At K J Smith we pride ourselves on our commitment to offering support, guidance and career development across all roles. You will receive a competitive salary along with a comprehensive range of benefits.

Find Out More

Kulbir Rahi

Kulbir Rahi

Partner at our Ascot office

"I joined K J Smith with an open mind and with the expectation of developing and adding diversity and challenge to my career, having spent 23 years in a comfortable position with a traditional high street practice.

I can honestly say that K J Smith have exceeded my expectations. Since joining, I have felt supported and encouraged by the firm’s continued commitment to growth and improvement. The company allow staff at all levels to have a voice and recognise the importance of investment in their employees at every level."

Read other staff testimonials here.

Free Consultation

Free Initial Consultation


To find out how we can help you, please contact us for a free initial consultation. Call or email, we will be happy to speak to you about your options and how we can help.