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Getting Back to Basics - What is a Child Arrangement Order

What is a Child Arrangement Order.

Some Things to consider before applying for a child arrangements order

  • Try to agree on the arrangements with the other party.

  • Consider a Parenting Plan which is a statement that both parents sign up to establish the ground rules of shared parenting.

  • Look at Mediation which is a requirement in most cases before a court can consider your application

  • If an agreement cannot be reached, then it is likely that you will need to issue an application for a child arrangements order.

What is a child arrangements order? What does it mean?

A child arrangements 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 share the care of their children.

What arrangements can a child arrangements order specify?

A child arrangements order can state:

  • Who the children live with

  • Where they live

  • When and how the children will see both parents

For example, they may spend weeknights in the family home and weekends with their mother/father. It can also set out other types of contact such as through phone calls, video calls, cards and letters etc.

Who can apply for a child arrangements order?

The following people can apply for an 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

Grandparents, who do not meet any of the criteria above, have to apply to the court for permission before applying for the order.

What the courts consider when granting a child arrangements order?

Always the first consideration is what is in the best interests of the child using the welfare checklist, which uses the following:

  • The wishes and feelings of the child concerned dependent on their age and level of understanding

  • The child’s physical, emotional and educational needs

  • The likely effect on the child if circumstances changed as a result of the court’s decision

  • The child’s age, sex, background and any other characteristics which will be relevant to the court’s decision

  • Any harm the child has suffered or may be at risk of suffering

  • The capability of the child’s parents (or any other person the courts find relevant) at meeting the child’s needs

  • The powers available to the court in the given proceedings

Please contact us if you have any questions.

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