Care proceedings solicitor
Having to go through care proceedings for a child is one of the most emotionally testing legal procedures that an individual can go through, which is why it is important that you take legal advice from a care proceedings solicitor.
Preliminary stages of using a care proceedings solicitor
With hearings taking place at short notice and the need to come to reach a prompt solution for the child involved, it is important to contact a care proceedings solicitor promptly. The first that a parent hears of a care order application is normally through a 'letter before proceeding' or a court order, either of which Community Legal Advice says you should respond to by contacting a care proceedings solicitor.
Upon receiving a letter before proceeding, your care proceedings solicitor can correspond with the local authority and negotiate on your behalf prior to a hearing. The letter could also invite you to a meeting, which you can attend with your care proceedings solicitor, and your care proceedings solicitor can also represent you in court. If social services feel a child is in immediate danger they can apply for an Emergency Order which a care proceedings solicitor can also advice you on.
What a care proceedings solicitor will do
Having to defend your actions as a parent, with the prospect of losing your child, can naturally be distressing, which is why it is useful to have a care proceedings solicitor, who is more likely to remain calm and dispassionate when fairly representing your position. On top of this and their knowledge of child law, a care proceedings solicitor will also have a good understanding of how the Family Proceedings Court operates and what the likelihood of your success is.
An independent guardian, appointed by the court to represent your child, will produce a report outlining what they believe is in the child's best interests and which your care proceedings solicitor will receive in advance of the hearing. Essentially, in representing your case, a care proceedings solicitor will seek to reassure the court that your child is not and will not be harmed by your behaviour, through neglect or physical, emotional or sexual abuse.
The decision-making process can be a long one but your care proceedings solicitor can apply for you child to remain with you in the intervening period. If a care order is eventually granted, the local authority will have a share in the child's parental responsibility this does not necessarily mean that your child will be put into foster care. In this event, your care proceedings solicitor can continue to represent you in an effort to have the order discharged.
Whatever your financial means, representation and advice from a care proceedings solicitor is funded by the Legal Services Commission. When picking a care proceedings solicitor, ensure that they are a member of the Children Panel of the Solicitor Regulation Authority.
NB: None of this information should be construed as legal advice
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