Child Arrangement Orders

If you have separated from your child’s other parent, you may need help putting formal arrangements in place setting out how you will share parenting. A child arrangement agreement can be negotiated and then sealed by the court, giving you the certainty of a legally binding order. Formerly referred to as a contact arrangement order, this is now known as a child arrangements order.

Having the right arrangements for you and your child will give you a level of certainty for the future and help you transition through what is likely to be a difficult time.

We will work with you to establish what will be best for your child and negotiate with the solicitor for your child’s other parent to try and reach an agreement that reflects this.

If you would like to talk to our London child arrangement order solicitors, ring us on 0208 989 3000. Or use our simple contact form to request a call back and we will be happy to answer your questions.

Why choose Huggins Lewis Foskett for your child arrangement order?

At Huggins Lewis Foskett, we have many years of experience in negotiating child arrangements. We understand how hard it can be to deal with this as a parent and you will find our family law team to be sympathetic and helpful throughout.

As well as a high level of legal expertise, we also provide an exceptional and supportive service, tailored to your needs. We offer excellent value for money and offer fixed fees wherever possible.

Our child arrangement orders service

Negotiating child arrangement orders

We will discuss with you how you would like the arrangements for your child to be structured and go through some of the options you could consider. We will negotiate with your child’s other parent to try and agree on the new arrangements.

If an agreement can be reached, then we will put this before the court for approval. If the court is happy with the agreement, it will seal it into a binding child arrangements order.

Mediation for child arrangements

If you and your child’s other parent are not able to agree on arrangements, then we can represent you through mediation. Unless domestic violence is an issue, you will generally be required to at least consider mediation before you can ask the court to make a ruling.

During mediation, a neutral mediator will help you both to understand the options open to you and consider whether you are able to agree on any points.

Litigation for child arrangements

If you decide not to attempt mediation or it is not successful, then we can ask the court to decide on the terms of your child arrangement order. The court will always prioritise what it believes to be in your child’s best interests. We will put together the strongest possible case on your behalf.

The court will usually ask the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass) to prepare a report on the family to help it decide on the terms of the order.

Where necessary, we can also apply for an emergency child arrangement order. This could be an emergency protection order or an emergency prohibited steps order.

Varying child arrangement orders

In some circumstances, it may be possible to ask the court to vary a child arrangement order. For example, if the situation changes or a parent moves. We can apply to the court on your behalf, explaining why a variation is needed.

Enforcing child arrangement orders

If your child’s other parent has failed to comply with a child arrangement order, we can represent you in applying to the court to enforce the order.

The court will look at the seriousness of what has happened and whether there is any reasonable excuse for the breach. It will also consider the best interests of the child.

There are a range of sanctions available, including having to carry out unpaid work and being fined.

Everything you need to know about child arrangement orders

What is a child arrangement order?

A child arrangement order is a legally binding order setting out details of how and when your child will spend time with each parent. It can include issues such as where they will live, when they will visit their other parent and how they will keep in contact with each parent when they are not together.

It can also deal with school holidays and issues such as education and religion.

How long does it take to get a child arrangement order?

The length of time taken to obtain a child arrangement order will depend on whether you are able to agree on the contents with your child’s other parent. If you are, it is a relatively quick process to ask the court to approve and seal the order.

If you need to attend mediation, it will take a little longer. If your case needs to be decided by the court, it is likely to take a long time. The family courts frequently have a backlog and they will also need Cafcass to spend time with your family and prepare their advice.

If you would like to speak to us, we can give you some idea of the likely timeframe in your case, given your circumstances.

How do I apply for a child arrangement order?

If you and your child’s other partner are able to agree on the terms that you want included in the order, then we can draft this and submit it to the court. The court will look at the draft order and decide whether it can be approved. If so, it will be sealed and returned to us.

If you will be applying to the court to decide on the terms of the order, form C100 will need to be completed. We can put together your case in support, explaining what you would like to happen and why you believe that it is in the best interests of your child.

How do I get a child arrangement order changed?

To apply to the court to have a child arrangement order varied, you will again need to fill in form C100. We can do this on your behalf and set out what you would like changed and why you believe the order should be amended.

The court will look at what is in your child’s best interests when deciding whether to vary the order.

What happens if a child arrangement order is breached?

If your child arrangement order includes a warning that not complying with it could mean you will be penalised, you can take steps to have the order enforced if your child’s other parent is not following the terms of the order.

We can notify the court of what has happened in order to show that the order has been breached. If the court believes beyond reasonable doubt that the order has been breached, it has a range of options open to it, including:

  • Ordering unpaid work to be carried out
  • Imposing a fine
  • Varying the order
  • Making an enforcement order setting out what your child’s other parent should do
  • Ordering mediation
  • Requiring your child’s other parent to attend a Separated Parents Information Programme
  • In the most serious cases, imprisonment

Our child arrangement order fees

Fixed fee child arrangement orders

We offer some work in respect of child arrangement orders on a fixed fee basis so that you will know exactly how much the costs will be from the start.

Hourly rates for child arrangement orders legal advice

For more complex work, including negotiating terms that are not straightforward to agree upon, we will charge on an hourly rate. The rate charged will depend on the level of legal expertise needed for your case.

We will be happy to provide you with an estimate of the likely costs involved. Please ring us and we will book you in for a free consultation of up to 30 minutes.

Our family law team

Fee Earners

Marcin Typiak

Speak to our child arrangement orders solicitors in South Woodford, London

If you need clear, practical advice and guidance in respect of arrangements for your children following a relationship breakdown, contact us today.

Call our child arrangement order lawyers in South Woodford, London now on 0208 989 3000. Or use the simple contact form below and we will get back to you soon.