Child arrangement orders

Relationship break-ups can be an emotional time for all members of the family. When children are involved it is important that parents come to an agreement over child care and contact arrangements. If an agreement cannot be reached between the parties or through mediation, a child arrangements order may be put in place. To speak to a member of the team regarding child arrangements orders, call 0203 816 0548.

Child arrangements orders are used when a dispute arises between families or separated parents regarding child care arrangements. They help families to reach a child-focused agreement when previous mediation has not helped to reach a conclusion.

A child arrangements order determines:

  • Where your child lives;
  • When they have contact with their parents; and
  • When and what other types of contact can take place until the child is 16, or in exceptional circumstances, 18.

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Who can apply for a child arrangements order?

Any parent or guardian of a child can make an application for a child arrangements order. The following people also have the right to apply for contact with the child:

  • Anyone who lived with the child for at least three of the last five years and the application is made within three months of the child ceasing to live with them
  • Any person in a marriage where the children were a part of their family (e.g step parents)
  • If the child is in care and the local authority consents to the order being made

Anyone who does not fall into these categories can still make an application and the court will consider their relationship with the child, the advantages of the order and the risk of harm to the child.

If an order is granted to someone who is not the birth parent of the child such as a grandparent or other close relative, the parental responsibility is shared equally between the guardian and the parents, whose legal relationship with their child will not change.

If the child does not agree with the arrangements outlined in the order, they are able to instruct a solicitor themselves to present their wishes to court provided that they are of appropriate age and understanding.

If you need help coming to an agreement regarding your child’s care arrangements, our solicitors at Stephensons have extensive experience in children law matters and can offer guidance and support when applying to court for a child arrangements order. Call a member of our team today on 0203 816 0548.

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As an award-winning top 150 law firm, with over 450 staff based in offices across the country, you're never far from the advice you need.