Attending family courts

You may have to go to a family court to solve certain cases such as adopting a child, residence or contact with children after a divorce, dissolution of a civil partnership or separation.

Adoption applications

Adoption is a legal act that gives the parental rights and duties of a child in the adopters.

Residence and contact

Parents who separate, divorce or apply for civil partnership dissolution can often agree the arrangements for their children. However, if they are unable to reach agreement themselves they may:

  • ask a family mediator to help them settle their arrangements, as mediation may prove less costly and stressful than going to court
  • apply for a residence or contact order and ask a family court to decide visiting rights and where the child will live

For more information on mediation, contact Family Mediation Northern Ireland or contact Family Support NI:

There are also other mediation services available, these can be found on the internet or a local telephone directory.

Children in care

If they feel it would be in the child’s best interest or is for the child’s safety, social services can ask the courts to issue:

More useful links

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