When a couple separates or gets a divorce, it is a stressful time, but it can be made more stressful if they have children and a decision needs to be made about their care and living arrangements.
A Child Arrangement Order is a court order in England and Wales made under Section 8 of the Children Act 1989 that details who is responsible for the care of a child, where they will live and what kind of contact they are allowed with each parent.
There are several options when it comes to arranging the care of your children upon separation or divorce, so it’s important to know all your options before deciding.
Childcare arrangement options after separation or divorce
The best way to decide what your childcare arrangements will be following a separation is to come to an agreement as parents. This can reduce conflict and the impact a separation can have on your children’s daily lives. It is important to set any relationship issues aside and to put your children’s welfare first, so you can come to a decision that is best for your children.
However, this can be complex and sometimes it might not be possible to come to an agreement without outside help. If this is the case, it can be a good idea to seek help from a professional mediator. Their impartial advice can allow you to find the best solution for you and your children without needing to go to court, which can be time-consuming, costly and result in unnecessary conflict.
If neither of these options works for you, then the last resort would be to apply for a Child Arrangement Order and the court will decide what care arrangements will be best for your children.
Applying for a Child Arrangement Order
There are rules about who can apply for a Child Arrangement Order. The person applying must be:
- a parent or guardian of the child or children in question
- someone who has parental responsibility - this could be a step parent or a grandparent
- someone who has a residence order for the child/children
- a spouse or civil partner as long as the child or children are part of that family
- someone the child or children have lived with for at least three years
It may be surprising that grandparents are not included on this list, but they can apply for a Child Arrangement Order as long as they meet one of the above criteria or they apply for permission from the court.
Whoever is named in the Child Arrangement Order will then have responsibility for the child or children until the order has ended.
For more detailed arrangements for your child’s care you can also apply for a Specific Issue Order which determines your child or children’s educational and religious upbringing. A Prohibited Steps Order can also stop one parent from making a decision about the child’s upbringing and welfare. For example, the parent under this Order would not be allowed to take the child or children on holiday to another country without getting permission from the other parent.
At Crisp & Co we will always put the needs and welfare of your children first within a dispute. You can rely on our expert team of child law solicitors to provide you with advice and support to find the best possible solution for your children.
Contact one of our friendly solicitors today by calling 020 3797 4952 or use the enquiry form below to request a call back.