If you and your ex-partner disagree over where your child or children should live after you divorce or separate, we know you are likely to be having a very difficult time. Askews Legal LLP’s expert family law solicitors are here to help you navigate the legal considerations to reach the best possible solution for you and your family.
Child Arrangement Order
A Child Arrangement Order is a legal order where the Court decides where a child will live and/or who a child can spend time with, and for how long.
Child Arrangement Orders replace the older concept of contact and residence. They have been known as Child Arrangement Orders since the Children and Family Act 2014 came into force, amending the existing Children Act 1989.
The Court has the power to make the following orders (known as Section 8 Orders):
- Child Arrangement Order
This regulates arrangements such as where the children reside and how much contact the non-resident parent should have with the children.
- Prohibited Steps Order
This prevents a parent or another from acting in a particular matter. For example, from removing the child from the care and control of a primary carer or even from removing the child from the jurisdiction of England and Wales.
- Specific Issue Order
This order resolves a particular issue about how a child is to be brought up if the parents cannot agree – for example, what religion the child should be brought up in, or what school they should attend.
A mother or a father with or without parental responsibility can apply for Section 8 Orders. Anyone else who is not a biological or adoptive parent must seek leave (permission) of the Court to apply, save for grandparents who no longer require permission. Do we want a little more here for grandparents and the contact part of Child Arrangement Orders?
In any dispute over a child, the Courts will refer the matter in the first instance to CAFCASS (the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service) which will carry out a risk assessment. The Courts will treat the welfare of the child as their paramount consideration hence an order will only be made if it is in the child’s best interests to do so.