Child Arrangement Orders
When a relationship ends, one of the most important issues for couples is to agree on the arrangements for children going forward. This can often be difficult and you and your ex-partner may have conflicting views over what is best for your child. It is important to try and keep matters as amicable as possible, but we understand that this is not always possible and sometimes legal intervention is required to put an arrangement in place which is best for your child. At GoodLaw, we are committed to providing you with child-focused advice on any issues which may arise.
One of the most common issues which arise is the arrangements for children and where your child should live and how much time they should spend with each parent. If you and your ex-partner cannot agree, you may wish to attend mediation. This is where you sit down with an independent third party to try and reach an agreement. At GoodLaw, we offer mediation for both children and financial matters. There is a requirement to attend mediation before a court application can be made and therefore it is worth attempting mediation as a starting point. If an agreement cannot be reached at mediation, the mediator will sign an exemption form for you which allows you to apply to the court within four months.
It is also possible to reach an agreement through correspondence and you may wish for us to write to your ex-partner on your behalf to put an agreement in place regarding contact arrangements. Sometimes it can be helpful for a parenting plan to be put in place and we would recommend looking at the CAFCASS website for further information: https://www.cafcass.gov.uk/grown-ups/parents-and-carers/divorce-and-separation/parenting-plan/
Applying to the court should always be a last resort, but it is sometimes necessary. When considering an application for a Child Arrangements Order, the court’s paramount concern is the welfare of the child and what is in their best interests. If you are considering making an application to the court, we can help and advise you at every stage. You may require full representation throughout the court proceedings or you may just require assistance and advice on certain issues. Either way, we are here to help and we can provide as little or as much assistance as is required.
There may also be a specific issue which arises that you and your ex-partner cannot agree on. This may be for example what school your child should attend, whether they should have vaccinations or if they should go on holiday. If an agreement cannot be reached between you or at mediation, you would need to apply to the court for a Specific Issue Order and ask the court to make a determination for you. In considering the application, the court will apply the welfare principle and what is in the child’s best interests. If you are unsure about making a court application, our family lawyers can advise you as to whether it is necessary to apply to the court and what you should apply for.