Child Arrangements Orders
The old “Residence” and “Contact” orders have been replaced by the Child Arrangements Order.
This is a change in emphasis to encourage parents to focus on the arrangements that are made for their children rather than the label given to it.
Child Arrangements Orders are defined as an order regulating arrangements relating to any of the following:
- With whom a child is to live, spend time with or otherwise have contact
- When a child is to live, spend time or otherwise have contact with any person.
The two main issues that parents will encounter are therefore still the question of where a child will live or reside and then the time they will spend with the parent that they do not live with.
Talk to our team today on:
0330 017 6309
Banner Jones Family Law Reviews
Who the child lives with
The way in which the court will approach where a child is to live , if parents cannot agree this, is based upon a careful consideration of the child’s needs and what is in their best interests. It is rare for a court to separate siblings but if it is in the children’s best interests they will do so. The court now quite often make “joint” or “shared” orders with a residence element, so that in effect the child or children will have two homes. The court can even go as far as setting out specific periods of time where the child will live with each parent, such as in the school holidays or during school term time. It can be set out in general terms if the Court is confident that both parties can agree the detail between them.
A Child Arrangements Order with a “residence” element prevents:
- Altering the name of the child or children;
- Removing the child or children from the UK (for more than 28 days);
- Consenting to the child’s adoption without the agreement of everyone with Parental Responsibility.
When a child spends time with you both
This is what used to be the “contact” or “access” element and settles when a child spends time with someone, usually the parent they do not live with. It is not compulsory to have an order to spend time with your child. These arrangements are usually agreed by both parents. If you are experiencing issues or the person /parent who the child currently lives with is being difficult about facilitating time between you and your child and mediation has not worked or has been assessed as not appropriate, then you can apply for an order with a contact element.
Changing contact arrangements
Over time, circumstances will change and the current arrangements may no longer suit you as a family. Very often the children themselves may decide that they no longer wish to visit the other parent, typically because they just want to spend time with their friends, or maybe the arrival of a new partner and step-siblings has made them uncomfortable.
If you start to experience difficulties with your children complying with an existing order, it is important to consider the reasons why and communicate where possible. If there has been a change in circumstances, then trying to deal with this quickly is always better than allowing matters to escalate, as doing nothing can leave you vulnerable to sanctions.
We would always advise that you try to engage with the other parent to make any required adjustments, as this is by far the most prefarable way to vary the arrangements. We can advise and assist with this, especially if communication is poor.
If an agreement cannot be reached, advice should be sought on an application to vary the existing order. You should be clear on why it is necessary and what you are seeking. We can assist with this.
Different forms of contact
The type of time spent maintaining contact with a child can take many forms, including:
- Letters and emails
- Telephone calls
- Visiting time
- Overnight stays
Where there is a concern over the level of care the adult wishing to spend time with a child can give, the Court may order a period of supervised time. This is where another adult is present to ensure that the child or children do not come to any harm.
Frequently Asked Questions
Non-residential parents have to pay maintenance for their children; hopefully the amount can be agreed though negotiation and if not then the CSA will decide. Each case is different. If for example the Mum and the children stay in the family home then she may relinquish her claims over any other assets such as pension and savings in return.
If the bank allows, it is possible for your aunt to name you as a third party on her bank account. This will allow you to withdraw funds and sign cheques on her behalf. We can help your aunt complete the mandate form required to put this in place.
No. Sometimes it may feel as though this has happened. The aim when sharing out matrimonial assets is to be fair. Both spouses have to make full disclosure about their assets and debts before any decisions can be made about distribution, trying to hide anything won't work. Factors which are important when sharing out the assets include the current and future needs of each spouse and any dependent children; the length of marriage and the age, earning capacity and contributions of each party.
Your aim should be that both parents still play an active part in the raising of the child/children. Usually parents sort this out amongst themselves, although if there are problems mediation can be a good way to resolve this. Going to Court should always be the last resort where children are involved.
No, getting a divorce should be an administrative excersise only and there are many options open to you that avoid going to Court.
There is a 12 month barring rule which means you can start the divorce process after being married for 1 year. In England you can get divorced if your marriage has broken down irretrivably, usually proved by allegations of adultery or unreasonable behaviour, or if there has been 2 years' of continously living apart.
of our clients would recommend us to a friend
(Ongoing Client Survey)
Thankyou Helena Downing for all your excellent service.
Thanks for your assistance with my case, your advice has been invaluable, and I would certainly recommend Banner Jones to my family and friends.
The family department at Banner Jones have just completed the legal arrangements in respect of my divorce. The service I received was exemplary and I wanted to write to you to let you know this. I have been pretty constrained in relation to availability to meet and most of our business has been done over email which I appreciated. Responses have been very timely, updates provided regularly, deadlines hit and fees reasonable. I contrast this with the service provided by a large law firm in Sheffield in the early part of the year and your approach and that of your staff to customer services, in my view, sets your firm apart. Your firm came to me through personal recommendation by a friend and I shall be happy to do the same. Thank you again.
We would like to thank our solicitor acting for us Richard, he did a great job and was very easy to speak to and very friendly. Extremely professional and we would use him again in the future.
We’re really grateful for the work you did for us. 10 out of 10!
Brilliant service, kept well informed all the way through the process. Would definitely recommend.
Cannot fault the service, efficient, prompt and cautious. Matters explained very well and clearly. Pleasantly surprised.
Service provided was excellent. All the staff were very helpful, considerate and professional. I would highly recommend to friends and family.