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Child Arrangements

When parents (married, unmarried or same sex) separate, consideration needs to be given to the arrangements for any children such as where and with whom they are going to live, whether they need to change school and how often they will see the other parent. These arrangements should be agreed between the parents wherever possible.

What if we cannot agree?

We can apply to court on your behalf for a Child Arrangement Order (formerly Residence and Contact Orders). Assistance should be sought from a trained Family Mediator, who maybe able to help you and your ex-partner reach agreement, as it is compulsory that mediation has been attempted before making an application, save in certain situations where there is domestic abuse, child protection concerns or in an emergency.

Who can apply for a Child Arrangement Order?

A mother, father (with or without parental responsibility), step-parent (including those in a civil partnership) and any person with whom the child has lived with for three out of the last five years. There are a few other people who are entitled to make such an application.

A significant person to a child, such as a grandparent, may make such an application, but only if they are initially granted permission of the court to do so.

What will the court take into consideration?

The court will consider a number of factors when deciding whether or not to make an order such as:-

  • the wishes and feelings of the child concerned, taking into account the age and understanding of the child
  • The physical, emotional and educational needs of the child
  • The age, sex, background and any characteristics of the child which the court considers relevant
  • any harm the child has suffered or is at risk of suffering
  • how capable each parent, or any other person, is of meeting the needs of the child

The court will always consider what is in the best interests of the child when making any decision. The involvement of each parent in the life of the child concerned will be considered to be in the best interests of a child, unless the contrary is shown.

The court may also make a direction requiring an individual to take part in an activity that would help to establish, maintain or improve their involvement in the life of the child concerned. This may include a requirement to attend parenting classes or counselling sessions. Both parents may be ordered to attend a Separated Parents Information Programme (SPIP).

If there are allegations of abuse or violence, the court may direct that the contact should be supervised.

If you would like advice about arrangements for a child, please call us on 03300 245750 or email at



I've been working with A&N Care Solicitors since I was in PLO. I was in an OK place, then an incident occurred in July 2014 which resulted in the local authority taking away my child in to care. She went up for adoption last year in March but I kept fighting with the help of A&N care solicitors and did all that was asked. I fell pregnant and thought I couldn't keep it, but nope, my solicitors and I kept fighting and I've had my daughter return from birth home. It's resulted in my older daughter coming home too and not being adopted. I really have to say though without the help of Natalie and Ruth from A&N Care I wouldn't be where I am today. I would recommend these to anybody if you are fighting for your children. Thank you very much A&N you are the best family law firm I've ever known.

Hayley from Chesterfield

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