Child Arrangements Orders (Child Custody)

Sometimes, going to court is the best option for sorting out children matters after divorce, dissolution or separation, but this doesn’t make it any less daunting. Our friendly, practical child law solicitors can help you seek a Child Arrangements Order to decide where your children should live after relationship breakdown.

We know that your children always come first, so we take a sensitive child-focused approach to help you sort out where they will live and contact arrangements after you and your partner have broken up.

Separation can be a very confusing and stressful time for children. They may not understand why their parents do not live together anymore; or, if they do understand, they may struggle to process the changes in their lives.

As part of the separation process, you and your ex-partner need to work out where your children will live, how to divide childcare and how much time otherwise known as contact they should have. Our goal is to help you work through these issues as smoothly and straightforwardly as possible, shielding your children from too much stress.

Before going to court, we will help you take all possible steps to reach a voluntary agreement with your ex-partner. But, if that is not possible, we can provide advice about going to court for a Child Arrangements Order. Contact us to discuss your concerns – we can provide advice about all your options and recommend the best way forward.

Get in touch with our Child Arrangements Order solicitors in Stafford and Rugeley

So, for tailored legal advice about Child Arrangements Orders, please get in touch with our Staffordshire solicitors in Stafford and Rugeley or fill in our simple online enquiry form.

Free 30-minute consultation

We can offer a free 30-minute consultation for new family law clients. Understanding the way forward is a huge part of choosing a solicitor, so we want to help you by setting out your options and possible next steps. No obligation, no strings attached.

When it comes to children related matters, court is always the last resort. Many people are even required to attend a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) before they can apply to court, to see whether mediation is right for you. So, as well as discussing Child Arrangements Orders, it is also likely that we will discuss other options, including voluntary parenting plans and alternative dispute resolution.

What is a Child Arrangements Order?

A Child Arrangements Order is a court order that sets out:

  • Where your child should live most of the time after divorce, civil partnership dissolution or separation
  • How much contact they should have with both of their parents
  • How much contact they should have with other people, such as grandparents
  • How and when contact should take place

Child Arrangements Orders used to be called Child Custody Orders. However, terms such as ‘child custody’ or ‘child custody solicitors’ are rarely used nowadays. Many years ago, Child Custody Orders were replaced with Residence Orders and Contact Orders, which were replaced by Child Arrangements Orders.

This can be confusing, but we can provide clear, practical advice about the type of court order you need and how to get it.

Who can apply for a Child Arrangements Order?

You can apply for a Child Arrangements Order if you have parental responsibility for the child concerned. Usually, the only people with parental responsibility are the child’s parents, however, this is not always the case.

If you are the child’s father or second parent, but you are not married or in a civil partnership with the mother, you may not have parental responsibility. It is very important to seek legal advice if you are unsure about whether you have it.

Sometimes, more than two people may have parental responsibility. For example, a grandparent or another person may have it if a Child Arrangements Order has already been made naming them as the person with whom the child should live.

If you do not have parental responsibility, it is sometimes possible to apply for a Child Arrangements Order anyway, but you need the permission of the court.

What is parental responsibility?

Parental responsibility is the rights and duties to take care of a child and make decisions about their upbringing. Only the birth mother automatically gets parental responsibility, but others can usually acquire it very easily. For example, the father gets it simply by being married to the mother, putting his name on the birth certificate, or making a parental responsibility agreement with the mother.

We can provide clear, easy-to-understand advice about parental responsibility and how it might affect your application for a Child Arrangements Order.

What is a MIAM?

A MIAM (Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting) is a meeting that most people must go to before they can apply for a Child Arrangements Order. At the meeting you will receive advice about mediation and whether it might be a better option for you than going to court (mediation tends to be faster, cheaper and less stressful than court proceedings).

Some people are exempt from MIAMs, so we can provide detailed advice about whether you need to attend one.

Get in touch with our Child Arrangements Order solicitors in Stafford and Rugeley

For a free initial consultation about Child Arrangements Orders and other family issues, please get in touch with our Staffordshire solicitors in Stafford and Rugeley or fill in our simple online enquiry form.