Child Arrangement Order

Navigating the school holidays for separated parents

As we approach school holidays, making arrangements for your children is highly important for separated parents.
The reason for this is that it is a child’s fundamental right to have contact with both parents. Resident parents are expected to encourage a constructive relationship between the child and non-resident parent unless there are safeguarding issues. The welfare and interests of the child are of paramount importance.

What is a Child Arrangement Order?

  • A Child Arrangement Order is a court order that sets out who is responsible for the care of a child.
  • It is usually used in cases when the parents cannot agree on how to split care of their children.
  • A Child Arrangement Order expires when the child turns 18 years old unless otherwise stated.
  • The order is legally binding, and if a parent breaches it, they will be in contempt of court which could mean fines, enforcement orders etc.

Before making an application for a Child Arrangement Order consider the following:

  • You should always try to agree on the arrangements with the other party.
  • Make a Parenting Plan: this is a written statement that sets out the ground rules of shared parenting. It should be signed by both parents.
  • Mediation: this is a process that assists parents in reaching an agreement about arrangements for their children. Attending mediation is also required by the court before the parent issues an application for a Child Arrangement Order.
  • If the parties cannot reach an agreement, it will be necessary to issue an application for a child arrangements order.

What does the order specify?

  • Who the children live with.
  • Where they live.
  • When and how the children will see both parents?

It also specifies whether the children may spend weeknights in the family home and weekends with their non-resident parent.

Child Arrangements Order may also set out other ways of contact such as telephone calls, video calls and cards.

People who can apply for a Child Arrangement Order without prior permission from the court:

  • A parent, guardian or special guardian of the child.
  • A spouse or civil partner if the child is part of that family.
  • Someone with parental responsibility.
  • Someone who already has a residence order for that child.
  • Someone who the child has lived with for more than three years.

Other parties such as grandparents may have to apply to the court for permission before applying for the Child Arrangement Order.

How we can help you?

  • We take the time to understand your situation and provide the best legal advice and solutions for you and your family.
  • Our qualified team are empathetic, sensitive and experienced in dealing with the rollercoaster of emotions that often arise when dealing with Child Arrangement Orders.
  • We can help you negotiate with your former partner and hopefully settle the case amicably.
  • We ensure that you have someone on your side who knows the law and understands how the courts work.
  • We help you to understand the likely outcome of the order and help you to change or improve the outcome.
  • If you have an existing Order and wish to make changes, we can help you vary the order.
  • If you are having difficulties with the Order, we will help you discuss the breach with the other parent in the hope to reach an agreement without having to return to court.
  • We can also help you to enforce the Child Arrangement Order.

Contact us

If you need to make a Child Arrangement Order, contact Neil Cowley or Belinda Tati from our Family Team on 01327 301771 or 01926 883431.

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