A child arrangements order is a legal contract between the Court and the child’s parents or guardians. Child arrangements ensure that the child’s living arrangements are in their best interests by detailing who the child lives with and who they have contact with. Often a child arrangement order is used when parents divorce or separate and can’t agree on the best solution for their children to spend time with each parent, but it’s worth noting that there is no standard arrangement and every family is different

Who can apply for a child arrangement order?

Anyone with parental responsibility can apply for a child arrangement order without getting permission from the Court first. This includes the following people:

  • A parent or guardian of the child
  • A spouse or civil partner in the family
  • Someone who already has a residence order for that child 

Can grandparents apply for a child arrangement order?

Grandparents who don’t meet any of the criteria above will need to apply to the Court first for permission before applying for a child arrangements order. The same applies for any adult in the child’s life who does not already have parental responsibility.

How long does a child arrangement order last

A Child Arrangement Order generally expires when the child is sixteen, or eighteen in some circumstances, unless the order specifically states otherwise. If the child’s parents move back into the same household, the order expires after six months of cohabitation.

Is a child arrangement order legally binding?

A child arrangements order is a legal contract between the Court and the parents or guardians of a child. Once issued, a child arrangement order is legally binding, but the Court does not monitor this, which means they are not always complied with. If one party is breaching the terms of the order, it is possible to ask the Court to enforce the order. There is a Court process for this to determine why the terms are no longer being met and whether there is a reasonable excuse for this before deciding what the next steps are.

Do I need a solicitor for a child arrangement order?

You are not required to have a solicitor or legal representation to make an order. As with any legal process, having a specialist family solicitor who knows the law and can support you through a difficult time is always advised so you know that everything is being handled correctly and professionally and you have someone on your side with expert legal advice. 

If you have queries or concerns about applying for a child arrangements order, get in touch with our family law experts at King Street Solicitors.