Having to go through care proceedings as a parent can be a stressful and uncertain time, especially if you don’t have access to the right information and legal advice.
Getting to grips with the process beforehand can make all the difference to reduce anxiety at a very difficult time.
Our team of solicitors at National Legal Service have extensive experience with care proceedings, so in this article we’ll be explaining everything that you should expect in anticipation of the final hearing of your case.
What is the final hearing in care proceedings?
Care proceedings follow many steps, starting with social services making an application to the court to investigate your child/children’s case, and ending with the final hearing where long term decisions for your child/children’s future will be made.
The process is very detailed and the Court will listen carefully to various people connected to the child (witnesses), such as the parents and the social worker, whilst considering all of the evidence. The goal of the Court is to make the best outcome for the child/children, in terms of where they live and with whom they spend their time.
What will I have to do during the final hearing?
Before the final hearing, you will be asked to provide a written statement to the court where you can explain your version of events and why your child/children should be able to stay in your care.
We would recommend getting a solicitor to help you write this statement as it will be a critical part of your case.
You will also be asked questions by both lawyers on the case. This can be stressful so it’s a good idea to prepare as much as you can before the hearing so you’re able to put across your point of view effectively.
Other people will also be questioned by the lawyers, like social services and witnesses to the case.
At the end of the hearing, the judge will decide based on the evidence that they have read from the papers and heard from the witnesses.
The decision that the judge makes will be final, but you do have the right to appeal a decision if you’re not happy with an outcome. Your solicitor should be able to offer you advice on your best next steps if this is the case.
What court orders can be made at a final hearing?
At the end of the final hearing, the courts could make the following orders:
● Care Orders
● Placement Orders
● Supervision Orders
● Child Arrangement Orders
● Special Guardianship Orders
The Court could also make No Order, which means that the child/children would continue to live with the parent(s).
Expert legal advice
If you’re currently going through the care proceedings process and need expert legal advice, get in touch with our team at National Legal Service. We can provide tailored solutions that work for you and offer all the support you could need during what we know is a very difficult time. It is especially important with care proceedings that the advice is obtained as early as possible.