If you are unable to agree on all the important issues for the arrangement of your children, then you will need to ask the court to make a Child Arrangement Order.
A Child Arrangement Order will stipulate where and with whom the child lives, when and where they have contact with a non-resident parent, and certain other matters relating to the child’s welfare. When making a Child Arrangement Order, the court will always put the welfare of the child first.
At the first hearing to decide a Child Arrangement Order, the judge will establish the common areas of agreement and disagreement, and may then recommend further mediation, or attendance of a course called a ‘Separated Parents Information Programme’, which is designed to help couples find common solutions for the benefit of their children. The judge may also request a report from the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass), who can represent the child and their wishes to the court.
If an agreement cannot be reached at this hearing, the judge or magistrates will schedule one or more further hearings. These hearings may involve the filing and giving of evidence and the consideration of evidence from expert witnesses.
At the final hearing, the court will make the Child Arrangement Order.
Apart from Child Arrangement Orders, the courts may also make the following orders:
Specific Issues Orders – these orders are used to get the court’s intervention in respect of specific issues, for instance which school the child will attend, changes to the child’s name, what medical treatment the child can have etc.
Prohibited Steps Issues –these orders, as the name suggests, are meant to ensure that the other parent will not take certain steps. These may include removal of the child from their current residence, with intent to move them permanently to another location whether within the UK or overseas, removal from education institution with intent to enrol in a different one, prohibiting certain people from contacting the child etc.
If your matter does require the intervention of the courts, our friendly family and children lawyers will guide, support, and represent you throughout the process. You can be assured that we will take as much of the pressure off your shoulders as possible. We will always make ourselves as available as possible if you need us; we know how important it is that you can ask questions when you need to, and receive accurate, considered, and timely responses based on the latest facts of your case. We don’t provide an off-the-shelf service; we tailor our approach for every client, to ensure that your emotional and legal needs are met.