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.
During the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak there is advice and guidance for all courts and tribunals users
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 themselves. Reaching agreement can often be the best option as parents can retain control of the process. However, if they are unable to reach agreement themselves they may:
- ask a family mediator to help them agree 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
Help and advice
For information about making arrangements for children whose parents are no longer together, getting a family court order or for other options instead of going to court:
For help and advice on options for agreeing arrangements for children parents can watch:
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:
- Emergency Protection Orders
- Care Orders
- Supervision Orders
- Secure Accommodation Orders
- Northern Ireland Courts and Tribunals Service