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

Our team of experienced family 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.