Child arrangement orders image
Child arrangement orders image


Rayden Solicitors specialise in children matters. We routinely represent clients in disputes in respect of a child or children.

What is a Child Arrangements Order?

A Child Arrangements Order is a court order which sets out the arrangements for a child or children. For example, this could be in respect of with whom the child or children shall live and with whom they shall spend time.

The court can specify within the order, how contact should take place and for what duration. An order can set out whether contact includes overnight stays, whether contact needs to be supervised and whether there can be indirect contact, for example, through letters or cards.

Someone may wish to have a Child Arrangements Order in place where there is a dispute in respect of any of the above issues and where that person would like arrangements to be clearly set out. This can avoid disagreements and inconsistency in the arrangements and care of the child or children.

We can advise you as to what the court would likely consider to be an appropriate arrangement for your children given the specific circumstances of your family.

We can also assist you in attempting to reach an agreement with another person as to child arrangements so that you can avoid the need for contested court proceedings.

Establishing where the child stays

A Child Arrangements Order can set out with whom a child shall live. This was formerly known as a residence order. This is now often referred to as a ‘live with’ order.

An order can be made for a child to live with one person and spend time with the other. An order can also be made for a child to live with two people who do not live together.

One of the advantages of having a ‘live with’ order in your favour is that you can take the child or children abroad for up to a month per year without the written consent of any other person with parental responsibility.

If an agreement is reached in respect of with whom the child lives and with whom the child spends time, a draft consent order can be put together by them for the court’s approval.

What is the process of getting a Child Arrangements Order?

Where parents or others cannot agree arrangements for a child or children and one would like a Child Arrangements Order, they need to take the following steps:

  1. Attend a meeting with a mediator to see whether mediation is appropriate. There are exceptions to attending a meeting with a mediator, for example where there are issues in respect of a child’s safety or where there has been domestic abuse. Rayden Solicitors can advise you if an exception applies or help arrange this meeting and assist with mediation if appropriate.
  2. Submit a specific application form which sets out details of the person making the application, the child or children, the type of arrangement/order sought and why. We can complete this form for you.
  1. Attend a first hearing which all parties attend. The court will review the matter, identify the issues, and decide how the case should go forward. We can represent you at this hearing, setting out your views and the way you wish the case to proceed.
  2. If an agreement cannot be reached, there will eventually be a final hearing listed where the court would consider all the evidence, hear from all parties, and any other experts and make a final child arrangements order. Rayden Solicitors can represent you throughout the process. We can advise you on the best way to present your case, to give you the greatest chance of achieving your desired outcome.

Who can apply for a Child Arrangements Order?

There is a wide range of people who can apply for a child arrangements order including a parent, a guardian, a special guardian, a step parent with parental responsibility by way of an order or agreement, and a person with whom a child has lived with for at least 3 years and more.

Where there is no automatic right to make a child arrangements application, you may apply for permission to do so, even if you are outside the above categories, for example a grandparent or other relative.

Child Arrangements Orders FAQ’s

How long does it take to get a Child Arrangements Order?

This can be a matter of a couple of months or where heavily contested, over a year. Rayden Solicitors seek to resolve matters as soon as possible and seek to avoid long lasting, expensive court proceedings.

How long do Child Arrangements Orders last?

An order setting out with whom a child shall live usually lasts until that child is 18.

An order setting out with whom a child shall spend time usually lasts until that child is 16 or 18, depending on the circumstances.

Can Child Arrangement Orders change?

You can apply to vary a Child Arrangements Order using a specific form. An application can be made for various reasons, for example when family circumstances change, or a child prefers more or less time with one parent etc.

We can assist you in applying to vary a Child Arrangements Order.

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