What is a Child Arrangement Order?

November 1st, 2022

Going through a divorce or separation can be a stressful and uneasy period from start to finish. One of the biggest concerns to those involved in a divorce or separation can be surrounding the welfare of any children who will be directly impacted by the relationship breakdown.

Unfortunately, not everything can be worked out amicably during the separation process and so there is a requirement laid out for parties to attend mediation in most circumstances as a last resort to fix issues. Failing mediation, if a couple cannot come to agreement on what will happen to their children, the next step to follow is to apply for a Child Arrangement Order.

A Child Arrangement Order is a Court order that sets out arrangements for the child or children, including who they will live, who they have contact with and how they will spend time with each parent. These orders made by the Court are legally binding for the parents of the child(ren). The purpose of these orders are to ensure that the child’s welfare is appropriately monitored and looked after.

What will a Child Arrangement Order include?

These orders from the Court will cover a number of conditions that determine where the child will live and with who and how often those with parental responsibility will be able to contact them.

Child Arrangement Orders can stipulate:

  • Who the child will predominantly live with
  • How often the child will get to spend time with the other parent and where these visits will occur.
  • How the child will communicate with the other parent outside of their visits, eg phone calls or social media interactions.

How long is the order in force for?

Typically, a Child Arrangement Order will remain legally binding until the child reaches the age of 16 – unless stated otherwise in the order. In some circumstances, the order can last until the child reaches the age of 18.

What happens if a party breaks the rules?

If the terms of the order are no longer being upheld by one of the parties, asking the Court to enforce the order would be the next step.

To make the Court aware of this, a formal application for enforcement must be made. An enforcement order will only be made if the Court are satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that a party has broken the rules of the order.

Is a Child Arrangement Order limited to parents only?

No, not necessarily. Among a list of others, grandparents can apply for an order if they feel that their access if being unfairly limited or if they are worried about their grandchild’s welfare.

The hurdle here is that only those with parental responsibility are able to apply for an order without asking the Court’s permission first. If a grandparent is not seen to be a guardian, they would need to take extra steps of applying for parental responsibility beforehand.

How can we help you?

Our family team consists of a highly experienced and supportive group of individuals from Solicitors to Paralegals, the team will always have your best interests at the forefront of any situation

If you would like to discuss a matter relating to Child Arrangement Orders or have any queries about these, contact us today using the form below and a member of the team will endeavour to get in touch.