For many people who separate from their partner will require a Child Arrangement order. This sets out where the child or children involved will live, and how much of your time will be spent with each parent. Here are 5 important things to consider with Child Arrangement Orders


1. Each Child Arrangements Order is Unique 


Each order will be decided on the circumstances of that particular family. With the best interest of the child always taken into consideration. Child Arrangements Orders are ratified in court by a judge or magistrate. They will encourage both parties to try to reach an agreement (if there are no concerns about the child’s welfare) first. Only if an agreement cannot be reached, will the judge or magistrate make the Child Arrangement Order. Again always putting the welfare of the child or children first. 


2. Child Arrangements Orders can be varied 


Over time, things change. Because of this, it may be necessary to change the terms of the order. That is, if both parties are in agreement about the changes. Then they are legally allowed to depart from its terms. Although, for the changes to be legally binding, the order must be formally varied by the court. This is done by applying for a variation from the court. Again, this must demonstrate that the changes are in the child’s or children’s best interests. 


3. Sanctions can be made for a Breach 


If one or the other party isn’t complying with the Child Arrangements Order, then the other party can apply to the court for an Enforcement Order. However, they will need to provide proof that the other person has failed to comply beyond a reasonable doubt (without a reasonable excuse). Once applied for, the court will decide if a sanction is necessary. A sanction could come in the form of a warning, fine, community service, or even a prison sentence. 


4. Child Arrangements Orders are just for parents 


Anyone can apply for a Child Arrangements Order. Also, anyone named in an order shares parental responsibility for the child or children. It is not unusual for family members, such as grandparents, to apply for a Child Arrangements Order. 


5. Orders last until a child is 16 years of age 


Or, in some circumstances, until a child is 18. After the order has ended, the child or children are able to decide for themselves how much contact they have with both parents and where they live. In most cases, the part of the order that states where a child lives is valid until the child is 18. But this is rarely enforced if the child has decided otherwise. 


How to apply for a Child Arrangements Order 


Child Arrangements orders are complex as they involve children, a family law solicitor can support families through Child Arrangements Order proceedings. 


Contact us


Many cases are emotionally difficult to organise. The team at Beeston Shenton understands this and will provide support throughout the process. Our approach is always caring and sensitive, as we want the best for you and your family. Please get in touch with our family law team to discuss Child Arrangements Orders.