It’s quite often that parents do not always agree on their children’s childcare matters following a separation or divorce. When this does happen, both parents are able to apply to the court for a Child Arrangement Order. The order will specify where the children live, who they live with, who they will have contact with and other matters relating to their welfare.
It's incredibly important that if you are faced with a dispute concerning your children’s future arrangements, you seek guidance from a child law lawyer that understands the law and has extensive experience.
Our team of expert Child Arrangement Order lawyers can assist with matters such as:
- Child Arrangement Orders legal advice
- Advice on mediation
- Drafting and filing a Child Arrangement Order with the family court
- Specific Issue Orders and Prohibited Steps Orders
The team of child law solicitors at Wells Burcombe solicitors can provide close personal support and tailor advice specifically to suit you, your needs and those of your children. We understand legal issues concerning children can be daunting and troubling, but we have dealt with a wide range of scenarios, from straightforward to more complex situations. No matter your circumstances, we will always work hard to help find the best short and long-term solutions for your needs.
Our family law solicitors help parents, guardians, or other relatives understand their rights with regard to Child Arrangement Orders. We can advise you during the mediation process, prepare the legal documents needed when applying for a Child Arrangement Order and prepare evidence for the court to consider when making its decision.
We can also help you when contact issues arise, such as an ex-partner making it difficult for you to have contact, a parent wishing to move children to another part of the country or abroad or stopping an abusive ex-partner from seeing your children.
Our expertise with Child Arrangements Orders
Child Arrangements Orders legal advice
Unfortunately, you may be faced with an unfortunate situation where you and your ex-partner are unable to agree on matters involving your children, particularly following a divorce or separation.
Our solicitors have a wealth of combined experience and are knowledgeable in all areas of child law, including Child Arrangement Orders. We can advise you as to whether a Child Arrangement Order is a right approach for you and the necessary steps to take.
Advice on mediation
The court requires those in dispute regarding their children’s living arrangements to attempt to resolve matters outside of court proceedings through mediation. The process will begin with a Mediation Information Assessment Meeting (MIAM), which determines whether mediation is an appropriate method to assist with resolution.
Mediation often requires more than one meeting to help find a resolution that suits your requirements.
Where you and your ex-partner are unable to come to an individual, separate agreement concerning your children, court litigation may be more appropriate.
Our assistance with court proceedings will include helping you deal with each stage of the process, including:
- Drafting the Child Arrangement Order application – our solicitors will help you draft a robust application that entirely outlines the dispute you are experiencing
- Preparing a supplementary application – where children’s current living arrangements puts them at risk of harm
- Filing the application with the court – our solicitors can file the application on your behalf, including paying the court fee
- Service of the documents
- Filing the service certificate
Specific Issue Orders and Prohibited Steps Orders
Child Arrangement Orders are often not the only matters involved in disputes concerning children. There are additional orders that the courts can make, and these are known as:
A Specific Issue Order is a court order granted by the court which allows an individual, most usually a parent, to carry out certain actions that concern the child or children. Examples of when a Specific Issue Order is used include:
- Whether a child’s surname can be changed
- Where a child will go to school
- Whether a child will have a religious upbringing
- Whether a child will receive medical treatment, such as lifesaving procedures
- Whether a child can be moved abroad, although this is more specifically dealt with by an application for leave to remove a child from the jurisdiction
- Whether a child can go on holiday abroad
A Prohibited Steps Order prohibits a party from unilaterally exercising their parental responsibility. This disallows an individual, most usually a parent, from carrying out certain actions concerning the child or children. Examples of when a Prohibited Steps Order is used include:
- Removing the child from school or nursery
- Removing the child from the country
- Moving the child to a different home or area
- Changing the child’s surname
- Preventing the child from coming into contact with a specific person
- Preventing the child from undergoing certain medical treatment
Our child custody solicitor fees
Dependent on your personal circumstances and the type of child arrangements order matter you are experiencing, we may be able to offer our services on a fixed fee basis. However, we recognise that occasionally circumstances are more complex and require closer support and experience to ensure everything is handled in the best way possible. Where this applies, we will charge the selected solicitor’s hourly rate.
To ensure we can provide you with an accurate estimation of our service fees, our team need to understand the matter at hand and the legal expertise required to assist. For further details regarding our legal costs, please don’t hesitate to contact our Child Arrangements Order solicitors.
Child Arrangements Order FAQs
What is a Child Arrangements Order?
To simply put, a Child Arrangements Order dictates whom children can live with, spend time with and/or have contact with, in addition to when precisely they can do any of these. This will be decided by the court, but the decision will only be based on the circumstances and how it best suits the children.
How long does a child arrangements order last?
Most usually the Child Arrangement Order will last until the child turns 16 years of age, unless it is specified differently in the terms.
Who can apply for a Child Arrangements Order?
Many are often quick to presume that only a parent can apply for a Child Arrangements Order, however, this is not the case. Other relatives or guardians can apply for a Child Arrangements Order, such as non-biological parents and grandparents. However, as expected, not everyone can apply.
Those who can apply for a Child Arrangements Order also include:
- A parent or guardian
- Anyone who currently has Parental Responsibility
- A person in a marriage or civil partnership where the children are a child of the family, even if they are not a biological parent
- Anyone who had a Residence Order or has lived with the children for three or more years
What will the court take into consideration?
When the court decides on a Child Arrangements Order, they will always consider what is in the children’s best interests. When making a decision, the court will consider a number of factors:
- The wishes and feelings of the children
- The children’s emotional, physical, and educational needs
- Whether the children have suffered, or are in danger of suffering from, any kind of abuse or neglect
- The ability of the parents or guardians to meet the children’s needs
- The effects of any changes in circumstances on the children as a result of the order
How long will it take for my solicitor to file a Child Arrangements Order?
A Child Arrangements Order application can be filed with the court quite quickly, however, the actual time it takes for the order to be processed will depend on several factors and/or if there are concerns for the child’s safety. However, typically from start to finish it can take between six to 12 months to complete.