Helping you resolve custody and child arrangements issues
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:
- Child Arrangements Order – live with: the court can decide which parent the child will live with, or if they will live equally with both parents
- Child Arrangements Order – spend time with: when parents cannot agree the arrangements for the child to spend time with the parent they do not live with, 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’.
Applying for a Child Arrangements Order
Mothers and fathers (with or without parental responsibility) can apply for any of the above orders. Parents who have adopted a child can also apply.
Generally, all other people must apply to the court for permission to make the application. Exceptions are grandparents, or if the child has lived with a person for more than three of the last five years.
Parents are encouraged to make decisions themselves if possible, but if they cannot agree the court will make a final decision. The welfare of the child will be the most important factor and any order will only be made if it is in the child’s best interest.
The court can also make orders to resolve issues including:
- Prohibited Steps Order – to prevent a parent from acting in a particular manner or to stop them doing something, such as taking the child to live in another country
- Specific Issue Order – when parents cannot resolve an issue about the child’s upbringing, such as religion, education or holidays
- International child maintenance – if your ex-partner lives abroad and has stopped paying child maintenance, you can apply to the court to get help in enforcing payments.
How Nelsons can help
At Nelsons our highly experienced and accredited team of childcare specialists can offer you advice and assistance in any dispute relating to your child.
"Accomplished practice noted for both matrimonial and childcare matters."Chambers & Partners