What is Child Arrangement Order?

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.

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 for three out of the last five years.

There are a few other significant people, such as a grandparent, who are entitled to make an application, but only if they are initially granted permission from the court to do so.

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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.

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 the best interests of the child when making any decision but generally the involvement of each parent in the life of the child will be considered to be in the child’s best interests, 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).

SPIP is a course which helps you understand how to put your children first while you are separating, even though you may be in dispute with your child’s other parent. The course helps parents learn the fundamental principles of how to manage conflict and difficulties. You will not attend the same session as your ex. In some areas it is free to attend.

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

What our clients say

Gill Noury is an excellent International Family Law Senior Legal Advisor. As my international child abduction case progressed in 2014 to a fortunate consent order after 5 months of intense legal battle I realized she was highly experienced and hands on. She not only provided me very good legal advice, but was also very sympathetic to my distraught situation. She was accessible all the times I needed to communicate with her or needed her personal support. She was at the same time very professional and demonstrated high integrity and human values. I found these attributes scarce in UK’s legal practitioner.

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We run a legal surgery here at our advice and drop in centre specifically for our clients who have experienced domestic abuse. A&N have been a constant support to this surgery over the year providing an invaluable service, they have been committed to the provision of legal aid advice and pro bono clinics and as such have enhanced the service provision which we are able to offer to our clients.

Strategic Head of Service
Derbyshire Domestic Violence and Sexual Abuse Service

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Helen was absolutely fantastic, the case was long and difficult but Helen was there for me when I needed her on the telephone and at court. She didn’t beat about the bush and gave me constructive criticism which I appreciated. My kids are now safely home with me where they belong and they love the teddies you sent for them. It was a really lovely thought, Thank you for everything.

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Liz Newbold & Her team were great from the very first phone call to the final court date, they did nothing but help whether it was a phone call or an email they got back to you as soon as they could. They were there for support when you needed it the most and they always put there all into every court date we had. I couldn’t have asked for a better solicitors to handle my case regarding my child. It was great to finally get victory and show we were not guilty, we couldn’t have achieved what we have done today without the help of Liz Newbold and her team of highly specialised solicitors and I am forever thankful for everything they have done for me and my family.

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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.

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