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Contact with Children & Child Custody

There are two different types of cases involving children, child private law and child public law. Public law cases are those brought about by local authorities whereas private law cases are those brought about by private individuals usually as part of a divorce or separation. Karen Edwards and Aine Toner in our Family team will assist with all child contact matters.

Private Law (Child Residency)

Issues relating to children require sensitive handling. If agreement cannot be reached as to where a child will live and what contact the other parent will have, we ensure that all avenues are pursued to reach an amicable, negotiated agreement. This will avoid potentially protracted and expensive Court Proceedings.

If an agreement cannot be reached an Application may be made to the Family Proceedings Court for one or more of the following:-

A Residence Order seeking to familarise who the child will live with.
 Contact Order defining the duration and frequency of contact for the non-residential parent.
A Specific Issue Order when and where the child can be taken on holiday or what surname the child should be known as are two examples.

These Applications involve a number of Hearings before the District Judge and a Lay Panel.

We at MKB Law understand when it is necessary in these Proceedings to involve another Professional trained in Child Care for example Social Workers or Court Childrens Officers. We will advise on all aspects of these Applications including the factors the Court must be taken into account in deciding duration and frequency of contact with the absent parent. We also advise as to whether or not a shared care arrangement will work and if it is in the best interests of the children to consider this option.

Public Law

Care Proceeding Cases, where a local Authority is seeking an Order from the Family Court to promote the welfare of a child under the Children Order (Northern Ireland) 1995, are usually complex and challenging, concerning families with multiple problems.

At MKB Law we can represent you if the local authority either threatens Proceedings for a Care Order or a Supervision Order or have already removed the children on foot of an Emergency Protection Order.

We will secure access to all Trust Notes and documentation so that you are properly advised as to the full extent of the Application being made against you and how that Application can be contested. We understand that poverty and violent or acrimonious relationships between the parents lead to mental health problems, substance or alcohol abuse and/or involvement with crime. We can ensure that the Trust exercises its statutory remit to ensure that you receive the help you deserve and need in order to secure the return of the children to your care or to ensure that the children are not removed in the first place.

We provide meaningful advice at the pre Proceedings stage, which is the crucial stage in cases where skills of an experienced Child Care Solicitor are required. We will advise you through each stage of the Case Management when Proceedings are issued and assist you to prepare a Statement of Evidence which may in many cases allow your Case to be put forward without the need for you to give evidence.

Karen Edwards and Aine Toner, along with Director Anne Marie Kelly, are members of the specialist Children Order Panel accredited by the Law Society of Northern Ireland. This ensures our team can represent clients in all public law proceedings.

Child Contact Lawyers


Our team can be contacted on: 028 9024 2450 or

Contact Us

For more information or to arrange a consultation with a Solicitor, please complete our contact form.
Alternatively you can call us on 
028 9024 2450 or email


MKB Law Solicitors Belfast is regulated by the Law Society of Northern Ireland. Content is copyright © MKB Law 2021. Terms & Conditions apply.