Child Arrangement Orders
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Child Contact & Child Arrangement Order Solicitors
Our Child Arrangement Order Solicitors are highly skilled at resolving childcare matters related to a relationship breakdown.
Child Arrangements Orders legally state where a child should live or spend time as well as who the child has contact with. They are typically required after the breakdown of a relationship and substitute ‘child contact orders’ and ‘child residence orders.’
Child Arrangement Orders were introduced in English law with the Children and Families Act 2014, which amended part of the Children Act 1989.
Why choose Clifford Johnston & Co?
Based in Greater Manchester, our clients come from all over the Northwest, England, and Wales for our outstanding reputation in supporting clients through Child Arrangements Orders.
At Clifford Johnston, there is always an expert who can offer help. Our knowledgeable and empathetic Child Arrangement Order Solicitors have extensive experience in helping clients in the same situation as you. We understand that this can be a stressful time and will be with you every step of the way to offer advice as well as practical assistance.
Get in touch today – our reliable and compassionate advisors will discuss your case with sympathy and understanding.
What is a Child Arrangements Order?
Divorced or separated parents may find it difficult to decide on matters relating to child arrangements, particularly if the separation has been a bitter one. If parents cannot come to an agreement on their own, one or both parents can request a Child Arrangements Order from the court.
This order will instruct where and who the child lives with, when and where they have contact with a non-resident parent and any other significant issues related to the child’s welfare.
Who can apply for a Child Arrangements Order?
In general, a Child Arrangements Order is requested and allowed when the child’s parent is divorcing or ending their long-term relationship. Occasionally one of the parents may not be a biological parent and maybe a guardian or other relative. For instance, the grandparents of a child might request for a Child Arrangement Order if one or both of the child’s parents has passed away or if a parent is unable to look after a child, or if the grandparents are being denied contact with grandchildren.
If you have any questions or concerns about a child arrangements issue, call our experienced Child Arrangement Order Solicitors today for advice relevant to your specific circumstances.
The people who can apply for a Child Arrangements Order are:
- A parent
- A guardian or special guardian
- Anybody who presently has parental responsibility for the child(ren)
- A spouse or civil partner of a parent
- Someone who has a residence order in respect of the child
- Someone who has lived with the child for over three years
In brief, anybody can make a Child Arrangement Order application for a child they have a parental obligation towards, even when they aren’t a biological parent. Others who want to pursue a Child Arrangements Order can do so when they first apply to the court for permission.
How can a Solicitor Help with a Child Arrangements Order?
Our Child Arrangement Order Solicitors will be able to provide realistic advice to a parent or others with an interest in child arrangements. They will try to negotiate a resolution when child arrangements have not been agreed. If agreement cannot be reached, then they will advise on the commencement of proceedings in the Family Court as a last resort.
Our solicitors will be on hand to give legal advice during the mediation process as well as support when completing forms and essential legal documents for the process of attaining the order. You’ll get help filing the suitable documents directly to the court and your Child Arrangement Order Solicitors will coordinate the order to be fulfilled on the other parent or guardian. They will also plan additional evidence for subsequent hearings, to ensure the courts receive all the information needed.
The Child Arrangements Order Process
If a relationship breaks down with children involved, the parents will hopefully reach an agreement over child arrangements. In this case, there won’t be a need to obtain a court order in the majority of cases.
However, parents can’t always agree on these terms themselves, and this is when the parties are likely to benefit from legal assistance.
When parents can’t agree they will be encouraged to try to work things out through family mediation. This begins with one or both parties attending a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM), which any party wanting to start a court application will have to go through first, unless certain exemptions apply.
If the mediator thinks the case is suitable for mediation, then the other party will also be invited to attend a MIAM. After this, if they are both willing, arrangements will be made for the parties to mediate a resolution out of court, to see if they can reach a compromise over child arrangements, and therefore avoid having to go through contested court proceedings.
The mediator may not believe this process will enable the parents to settle their dispute, or they attempted to mediate and don’t come to terms of an agreement. In this case, the next step is to request to the court for a Child Arrangements Order.
Applying to the Court
When a parent or guardian requests a Child Arrangement Order, the court will hold a dispute resolution hearing, attended by an officer of the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS). The hearing is mediated by Magistrates or a Judge, and both parents/guardians are required to attend. The CAFCASS officer will be there to help the court at this hearing. It’s the Magistrates’ job to find an outcome that reflects what is best for the child(ren).
Further hearings may include steps such as filing evidence and calling witnesses for statements. An officer of the CAFCASS may become involved at this stage as an impartial advisor to the court and convey the child’s views to the court. Finally, the court examines all of the evidence and statements that have been made to come to an arrangement. Through all the stages, the support of experienced Child Arrangement Order Solicitors is vital: get in touch with the team at Clifford Johnston today.
What do the Courts Consider when making a Child Arrangements Order?
The Child Arrangement Order considers the child’s interests above all. The main intent of the order is to make sure that the child’s wellbeing is the top priority.
- The courts consider several factors including:
- The child’s feelings and needs
- Any instances of domestic violence or abuse
- The parent’s or guardian’s ability to meet the child’s needs
- The impact the order will have on the child.
The Child Arrangement Order Solicitors at Clifford Johnston can ensure you achieve the best possible outcome regarding childcare matters following the breakdown of a relationship. Contact us today to discuss your situation with our experts.
What can be included in a Child Arrangements Order?
The most frequently covered issues are to do with whom the child will live, and how much time they will spend with the non-resident parent. A child contact order clause can be included to impose whether there should be any other contact such as through video calls. The court can also deal with Specific Issues, such as what school the child should attend, whether certain medical procedures should be carried out, and in what religious faith, if any, the child should be raised.
You may also decide to apply for a Prohibited Steps Order, to prevent a child being taken abroad, or from being exposed to any particular influences or people which might cause the child harm.
The range of issues is extremely wide and if you are concerned about something to do with the way in which your child is being parented, you should take legal advice to find out the best way of dealing with the problem.
Contact Our Child Arrangement Solicitors Today
We regularly help local families with all matters relating to child custody and residence so for professional, confidential advice contact us today.
Our friendly team will deal with your enquiry sensitively and with understanding, so contact us today for helpful and supportive advice.
With offices in Stockport (Heaton Moor) & Manchester (Burnage), our expert family solicitors are easily accessible. We represent clients not only locally and throughout Stockport, Cheshire, Lancashire & Manchester but also across the United Kingdom. You can count on us to help and guide you whatever your challenge or circumstance.
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Do you have any issues that you are worried about? Contact our professional team for a free, no-obligation informal discussion, where we can discuss your particular requirements in greater detail.