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If your application is urgent (made without notice), you can have a lawyer to help you apply for the Order and represent you in court.
You can get a family lawyer’s advice at any time when you’re working out disagreements about caring for your children. But you need to do some things yourself in the early parts of some Family Court processes, like giving your documents to the Family Court (called filing your documents) and at some meetings (called conferences).
For other parts of the process, you can use a lawyer:
At each step of the process, the court will tell you if you can use a lawyer. When you’re not allowed to use a lawyer, you’ll need to represent yourself.
If you’re on a low income, you may be able to get some legal advice and help for free through our Family Legal Advice Service. A lawyer from the Family Legal Advice Service will help you understand:
You can get this help from the Family Legal Advice Service any time before going to court. The lawyer can also help you to fill out the court forms if you're applying for a Parenting Order or responding to an application for an Order.
If you need further advice, you’ll need to pay the Family Legal Advice Service lawyer or another lawyer for that advice.
You may also be able to get legal aid, which is where the government pays for a lawyer for eligible people once their case is in court.
The judge can appoint a lawyer for a child at any stage if they think it’s needed (for example, if they’re concerned about the child’s safety or wellbeing).
The judge can also appoint a lawyer to help the court if there are particular legal issues to be considered.
You and the other people involved in your case may have to pay some of the costs of a lawyer for a child or a lawyer to help the court. Paying for these costs is called a Cost Contribution Order.