Child Arrangements Order
Whether you are a parent of a child who is currently going through a divorce or separation and wish to seek arrangements in respect of your children, you are another individual who wishes to seek a Child Arrangements Order in respect of a child; our experienced team of solicitors at FisherWright will be able to assist you.
Not only do our solicitors understand the pain, anxiety and confusion in respect of arrangements for children, our solicitors possess a wealth of experience in family and have assisted countless families in successfully arranging agreements for the contact or residence of children.
Whether you are a parent whose contact with your child has been limited or restricted, whether there are disputes as to where your children should live, contact arrangements or other issues, FisherWright solicitors will be able to assist you. At FisherWright solicitors, our predominant interest is the best interest and the welfare of children and you can be reassured that our solicitors will strive to offer you the best and most comprehensive legal advice ensuring that your children are a priority in such discussions.
What is a Child Arrangements Order?
A Child Arrangements Order is an Order regulating arrangements in relation; there are broadly two types of Child Arrangements Order. A Child Arrangements Order can stipulate whom a child is to live with and the duration; a Child Arrangements Order can also specify whom a child is to have contact with and when such contact is to take place.
The Court can order several types of contact which include, direct contact, overnight contact, supervised contact, or indirect contact through gifts, letters or celebration cards. In certain instances where it is deemed unsafe for a child to have contact, the Court is at discretion to order that no contact between a child and named individual is allowed.
Can I apply for a Child Arrangements Order?
Whilst it is common for parents to predominantly make applications for a Child Arrangements Order, if you are not the biological parent of a child, it may be possible for you to make an application for a Child Arrangements Order if the following circumstances apply to you.
- If you are the guardian of a child
- If you are the stepmother or stepfather of a child
- If a Residence Order has been made in your favour
- If you have lived with the child for a period of 3 years
- If you are a foster parent
- If you are a relative who has resided with the child for the minimum of a year
If you do not meet the above, you may still be able to make an application for a Child Arrangements Order by seeking permission of the Court, kindly contact our solicitors who can further advise you as to whether such an application could be made.
How long will a Child Arrangements Order last?
The duration of a Child Arrangements Order will be contingent upon the type of Child Arrangements Order made. An Order stipulating who the child is to live with will typically subsist until the child reaches the age of 18, whereas a Child Arrangements Order specifying contact arrangements will usually subsist until the child reaches the age of 16 unless the Court has ordered otherwise.
What will the Courts consider?
In considering whether to make an Child Arrangements Order the Court will consider a range of factors predominantly beginning with considerations as to the welfare of the child, the desire of the child, the needs of the child whether emotional or educational, the impact of an Order, the attributes of a child including its age and the background it has and any possible occurrence of harm.
The procedure of applying for a Child Arrangements Order
Step 1: Mediation: Before commencing proceedings for a Child Arrangements Order, it is a requirement for parties to attend a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM), the sole purpose of this meeting will be to determine whether a settlement could be reached in relation to child arrangements without the need for lengthy and expensive Court litigation.
If however, your matter is urgent, please contact our solicitors who will be able to advise you whether you could be exempt from this requirement, such exemptions could include if domestic violence has taken place or you have concerns regarding the child’s safety.
Step 2: Application to the Court: Once you have attended the MIAM, the next step will be to file an application to the Court for a Child Arrangements Order, providing details in relation to the child/children, the recourse you are seeking and the reasons for doing so.
Step 3: First Hearing Dispute Resolution Appointment: Once the Application has been issued, the Court will then allocate a First Hearing Dispute Resolution Appointment, which is a hearing where the Court will narrow the issues of each party and determine whether a resolution is possible by way of a settlement. However, if the parties are unable to reach an agreement, the Court will narrow the issues, and Order how the matter is to proceed and could direct that further evidence is collected which could include the provision of a CAFCASS report, or for Witness Statements to be produced by parties in preparation for the final hearing.
Step 4: Final Hearing: the Court will assess the evidence provided by both parties and make a final Order.
In order to discuss the arrangements concerning your children, and exactly how you would like us to help, please contact FisherWright Solicitors today. We look forward to being of assistance.