When children are involved in divorce or separation, it is important to put their best interests first. If you are not able to come to an agreement about arrangements for children with your former partner through negotiations or mediation, we can provide expert advice about applying for a Child Arrangements Order.
The court can make a Child Arrangements Order to decide:
- Where your children should live
- When they should spend time with each parent (and how much time)
- What types of contact can take place (for example, overnight stays, phone calls, emails etc)
Anyone with parental responsibility can apply for a Child Arrangements Order – usually this means either parent can apply.
Relationship breakdown can be difficult for every member of the family, particularly children who often do not understand why the separation is necessary. As a parent, you will likely be worried about the impact of your divorce or separation on your children’s happiness. Our role is to help you find a positive and constructive resolution, no matter how complicated or emotionally charged the situation. Our children law solicitors specialise in helping families navigate difficult issues and disputes as straightforwardly as possible.
Our clients come from a wide range of backgrounds, including professionals, business owners, retirees, and those with international links overseas, including the USA, Europe, the Middle East and the Far East.
There may be many reasons why applying for a Child Arrangements Order may be the best option for you. For example, if a dispute has arisen between you and your former partner making it impossible to create a workable parenting plan. So, if you need expert, practical advice with a personal touch, we are on hand to help.
For advice about Child Arrangements Orders after divorce or separation, please contact your local team in Bath or Bristol:
Why choose Sharp Family Law for advice about Child Arrangements Orders?
Sharp Family Law is one of the largest niche firms of family law solicitors in Bath and Bristol. We specialise in providing bespoke family law services with a strategic, intelligent approach.
We years of practical experience, we are highly skilled at helping individuals explore all possible avenues for resolving disputes about future of the family. Our child-centred approach means that we put the happiness and welfare of your children first. All steps we take will be taken with the aim of securing you and your children a safe, positive future.
As well as providing expert legal advice, we work with a range of other professionals who can provide additional support, including child specialists and mental health counsellors.
Independent recognition for our family law expertise includes:
- The Legal 500 - Tier 3 for Family in the South West
- Chambers & Partners – Band 2 for Family/Matrimonial in the South West
- Richard Sharp is personally ranked Band 3 in Chambers & Partners
To find out more about our family lawyers’ individual expertise, please take a look at our team.
How our child law solicitors can help your family
Arrangements for children used to be known as child custody arrangements, however, lawyers and judge no longer use the term ‘custody’. It was instead replaced with Residence Orders and Contact Orders; even more recently, residence and contact has been replaced with Child Arrangements Orders.
Whether you have just broken up with your partner or need advice about child arrangements made in the past, we are here to help. We understand that sorting out arrangements for children is difficult, particularly if you have already tried to find a solution out of court and not been able to. We can provide invaluable emotional support as well as practical legal advice to help draw the matter to a close as swiftly and painlessly as possible.
Mediation Information and Assessment Meetings (MIAMs)
In most cases, you cannot apply for a Child Arrangements Order until you have attended a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM).
A MIAM is a meeting with a qualified mediator to see whether mediation might be a better option for you and your family than going to court. Your former partner will also be expected to attend a MIAM, but you do not have to go together. If they refuse to attend, this will not stop you from applying to court.
Our team includes mediation specialist, Richard Sharp. We can provide clear advice about MIAMs, including whether you may be exempt. We are also able to accept referrals for mediation from other firms. For more general information, including FAQs, visit our Family Mediation page.
Child Arrangements Order applications
We can assist with the process of applying to court for a Child Arrangements Order to decide matters such as:
- Where your children will live
- Who they should have contact with
- When contact should take place and how long it should last
- What types of contact can take place
We can provide support and representation at any hearings, help you present your case, and liaise with CAFCASS (who will likely be appointed to take care of your child’s interests) on your behalf.
Trying to come to an agreement is often an important part of Child Arrangements Order proceedings as this is usually in the child’s best interests. We will help you negotiate with your former partner wherever possible with the goal of finding a swift and cost-effective resolution. If you cannot reach an agreement, the judge will make a decision that puts the best interests of your child first.
Changing a Child Arrangements Order
If you have a Child Arrangements Order that no longer works for your family, we can provide advice about getting it changed, either through voluntary agreement with your former partner or by going back to court to ask them to vary the Order.
Enforcing Child Arrangements Orders
If your former partner stops following the Child Arrangements Order, we can help you take steps to enforce it. This could include:
- Informally negotiating with them and seeing whether it is necessary to change the Order
- Applying to court to ask them to enforce the Order
Other children law advice
We can help with all other related children law matters, including:
- Making key decisions about a child’s upbringing, such as where they should go to school
- Child support
- Parental responsibility
- Child relocation – within the UK and abroad
Visit our Children and Parenting page for more information.
Speak to our child law solicitors in Bristol and Bath
For pragmatic, constructive and sensible advice about Child Arrangements Orders, please contact your local team in Bath or Bristol.