Family Law
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Child Arrangements Orders

Children Law Experts

Child Arrangements Order (CAO) is now the umbrella term for Residence & Contact Orders. These help decide who the child will live with and how often they will see the other parent.

If you and your ex-partner cannot agree on the time children will spend with each parent, the court has the power to make decisions for you, known as Child Arrangements Orders. The court can decide which parent the child will live with, or if they will live equally with both parents and if you cannot agree the court can decide the exact timings.

Most people will be more familiar with the terms residence/custody and contact/access. These terms have been replaced with ‘live with’ and ‘spend time with’.

Anyone may apply to the court for permission to apply for a Child Arrangements Order, but several categories have implicit permission. These are:

  • Parents or guardians
  • An adult with a Residence Order for the child
  • A responsible adult who holds parental responsibility for the child
  • An adult who the child has lived with for upwards of three years
  • A non-biological parent who is a parent through marriage/civil partnership
  • A person who has gained permission from any of these people

Read our blog which explains Child Arrangement orders in further detail.

Child Arrangement Orders FAQ’s

Will I have to go to Court?

If you and your ex partner are unable to agree the time each of you should spend with the children, and mediation has been explored but was not workable then you may have to apply to the court for assistance in finding a way forward.

Is Legal Aid available for Child Arrangement Orders?

Legal aid is no longer available for private law disputes in respect of child arrangements, unless you have “gateway evidence” as per regulations 33 and 34 of LASPO evidencing domestic abuse or child protection concerns.

How does the court decide Child Arrangements?

The Court’s paramount concern is the child/ren of the family’s welfare and in considering whether to make a Child Arrangements order, there will be consideration of “the welfare checklist”.

  • The primary consideration is to the welfare of any children;
  • The child’s physical, emotional and educational needs;
  • The ability of the child’s parents or guardians to meet the child’s needs
  • The effects on the child of any changes in circumstances as a result of the order.
  • Any harm the child has suffered or may be at risk of suffering;
  • The capability of the child’s parents (or other relevant people) in meeting the child’s needs, and

Getting Help

Our team of experienced child law solicitors will be able to help guide you through this often messy and emotional area of law. It is essential you find a solicitor at the earliest point in order to get your complete case heard before the court.

Child Solicitors near me

Our Children solicitors are accredited by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and Resolution. Speak to our Child law solicitors on 0203 601 5051

You can find and contact your local National Legal Service Solicitors branch here to find out more information.

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