Children involved in your dispute

When children are involved in your separation the emotional impact on everyone involved is heightened. We handle every matter involving children with the utmost sensitivity.

It is usually best for your family if any disputes involving your children can be resolved through agreement between you and your partner, and ideally through collaborative or mediated means rather than in the courts if that can be achieved. In our first meeting with you, we will quickly assess your situation and recommend the best approach.

We have experience in all types of issues involving children – whether disputes over paternity, living arrangements, access (by parents or grandparents), schooling, maintenance, relocation and parental alienation. We bring particular insight where there are international and cross-border issues or where there are inter-related complicated financial arrangements.

Due to our depth of experience with complex international work we have successfully represented parents in preventing their children from being moved to live in another country, and alternatively helping others to move. One of these cases (MK v CK 2011) resulted in a landmark decision by the Court of Appeal and the adaptation of principles to be applied in all child relocation cases.

We deal with numerous relocation applications in Hong Kong. One of our cases in the Court of Appeal (LN v SCCM 2013), which involved parties in Hong Kong and Singapore, led directly to Hong Kong becoming a member of the international Judges network to improve the communication between judges in different jurisdictions for the benefit of children. In another of our Hong Kong cases JEK v LCYP (2015), the Court of Appeal redefined the meaning of habitual residence.

In addition to our experience relating to care arrangements for children, we also benefit from being able to bring in our trust lawyers who work to safeguard the financial interests of children during separation and divorce, as well as our reputation management team who can help to keep them out of the public eye.

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07 February 2022 - Article

Growing together: protecting children's mental health during separation

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30 July 2020 - Article

The Welfare of the Child is Paramount: How An Adoption Order Passed Without Consent Of Biological Parents

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08 December 2020 - Article

What about me? Children in the UK caught in the middle of the tug of love

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25 November 2016 - Blog

A delicate balance — children's privacy vs public interest in the family courts

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2022 Chambers UK: top ranked firm for family (Band 1)

2022 Legal 500 UK, top ranked for family (Band 1)

20 years as a top ranked firm for family/matrimonial (1997-2017)

Top ranked firm for family/matrimonial

Top tier firm for family (2002-2016)

Winner of family/matrimonial law firm of the year

UK top family law firm

Market leader in family and divorce law - Hong Kong (2015-2018)

Meet the team

How the team can help

Track record

Removal of a child from Hong Kong to the US

Our team led a case which reached the Hong Kong Court of Appeal concerning the issue of the removal of a child from Hong Kong to the US. This case was interesting because the orders in respect of the children had been made by the courts in Singapore where the children were born and where the father continued to reside. However, the mother and children had lived in Hong Kong for a number of years and therefore we sought an order through the courts there. The court reluctantly refused jurisdiction on the basis that it would not be in the children's best interest if there were multiple jurisdictions involved.

Highest child maintenance award secured in Hong Kong

We acted for the mother and child in Hong Kong under the Guardianship of Minors Ordinance, achieving for our client the highest award for such child maintenance to date.

Appealing international relocation with children

Our client, who shared the care of his two children with his former wife, opposed her application to relocate to Canada permanently with them. We represented him in the Court of Appeal and successfully overturned the initial decision, so his former wife did not have permission to leave with the children. The decision marked an influential development in the court's approach to applications to relocate abroad with children. This followed C v C, an earlier decision in which Withers also acted, where we represented the father who successfully resisted the mother's application to permanently relocate with the children to the US.

Confirming that the welfare of children is paramount

We acted for the mother in her application for permission to relocate to Russia with the two children. This decision re-iterated what the Court of Appeal had said in MK v CK, that the only principle to apply is the welfare principle, but in this case the Court decided that our client should be given permission to relocate.

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