We help parents to make well informed, forward thinking choices, putting their children first

Child Arrangements Orders

The best for your children We encourage parents to place their children's needs at the heart of the process

 

During the course of divorce or separation, parents will often be able to agree between themselves:

  1. Who the child will live with; and
  2. How frequently and for how long the child will spend time with the other parent.

Where parents are unable to agree, either parent may make an application to the Court for a “Child Arrangements Order” under the Children Act 1989 to regulate the child’s living arrangements.

A number of considerations will be taken into account in determining with whom the child shall live and how much time a child shall spend with the other parent. Crucially, the outcome will be determined by reference to what is in the child’s best interests.

We recognise that making decisions about children is difficult. Our team of experienced family lawyers, counsellors and family consultants can set out all the options available, supporting you through the court process and beyond.

Some frequently asked questions:

  • Who can make an application for a Child Arrangements Order?

Some people automatically have the right to make an application to the Court for a Child Arrangements Order. Otherwise, you will have to make an application to the Court for permission to apply first.

If you are the parent of the child, whether or not you were married at the time of the birth of the child, you may apply for a Child Arrangements Order. There are other categories of people who may apply to the Court for an order but who may first need permission to apply. These people include grandparents (unless the child has lived with them for at least 3 years).

  • Can I go straight to Court if I wish to make an application?

No. All applicants (unless they are exempt) must first attend a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (a “MIAM”) with a mediator before they can issue an application for a Child Arrangements Order. The purpose of such a meeting is to inform the applicant and determine whether or not the issue is suitable for mediation. Only after the applicant has attended the MIAM can they apply to the Court for an order.

  • How long will the process take?

This very much depends on the Court timetable and when hearings are listed. To an extent, it may also depend on the cooperation of the other party.

  • How much will it cost?

This will vary on a case by case basis. At Family Law in Partnership we are able to give fee estimates once we are aware of the facts of your particular situation and we will provide up to date costs information and estimates throughout your case. We work on the basis of openness and transparency and appreciate the need to work as cost effectively as possible, particularly where financial resources are limited.