A Child Arrangement Order is a Court Order made in the Family Court which says who a child is to live with and what time they should spend with other people. There are various circumstances where a Child Arrangement Order might be used, including where parents cannot agree arrangements for their children following separation.
If you need to apply for a Child Arrangement Order or respond to an application made by someone else, our Family Law team can advise and represent you. We can also discuss alternative options for making arrangements for children out of court, such as collaborative law, where appropriate.
To speak to our expert family lawyers about a Child Arrangements Order, please contact our new client co-ordinators to arrange an initial consultation.
When is a Child Arrangement Order needed?
Child Arrangement Orders are used where the parents or other people with parental responsibility cannot agree on where a child should live and what time the non-resident parent should spend with the child(ren). They may also be used under any other circumstances where there is a need to legally establish where a child lives and who they should spend time with.
Before 22nd April 2014 the Court would make Residence and Contact Orders but they can no longer do so and these orders are now called Child Arrangement Orders.
Residence and Contact Orders made before 22nd April 2014 are still effective, but any Court Order made since that date will be called Child Arrangement Orders.
Who can apply for a Child Arrangement Order?
The following people can make an application to the Family Court for a Child Arrangement Order:
- The child’s parents
- Anyone with whom the child has lived for at least 3 of the past 5 years
- Anyone who has Parental Responsibility for the child
- A Guardian who has been appointed under the Will of someone
- Anyone who has permission of the Court to make the application
How to apply for a Child Arrangement Order
- The application is made on a Court form called a C100 if there are no proceedings already before the Court in relation to the child
- If there are ongoing proceedings already before the Court the application is made on a form called a C2
- If you need to apply to the Court first for permission to make an application that should be made on a form called a C2
- There is a Court fee to pay when you make the application
- The application and Court fee has to be sent to the Family Court
What happens when the application is made?
- The Court will list the application for a hearing
- Before the first hearing someone from CAFCASS will telephone all of the parties to hear their views about the application
- CAFCASS will prepare a letter for the Court to recommend how the application should be dealt with and to notify the Court of any safeguarding concerns which arise from their background checks made through the police and local authority
- At the first Court hearing the Court will decide if any more information is needed (perhaps from the police or Social Services)
- The Court will then list the case for a further hearing
- If the parties cannot agree the outcome, the Court will list the case for a contested hearing to decide what order should be made once all of the information is available
What is the effect of a Child Arrangement Order?
- If there were previously any orders relating to the child they will be replaced by the new order
- The Child Arrangement Order will set out what the arrangements are for the child going forward
How long does a Child Arrangement Order last?
A Child Arrangement Order lasts until the child is 16 unless the Family Court makes another order before then.