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5 Questions On... Child Arrangement Orders9th Sep 2022

by Anna Burton on 9th Sep 2022

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A Child Arrangements Order is a legal order where the court decides either where a child will live or who a child can spend time with and for how long.

What steps should parents/guardians take when amending a child arrangements order?

The first step is to approach the other parent to see whether they will agree to the variation of the Order. A Child Arrangements Order can be varied without returning to Court if both parents agree. This is quite common, for example where children’s needs and wishes change as they grow up. If parents do not feel comfortable approaching the other parent to request a variation, they can instruct a solicitor to do this on their behalf.

Do the parents/guardians need to attend mediation before amending a child arrangements order?

If the parents cannot agree to vary the Child Arrangements Order and one parent is required to make an application to Court, there is a requirement to attend a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting prior to the application being made, unless an exemption applies for example domestic violence or urgency. Full details of the exemptions are set out in the C100 form. 

What are the main things parents/guardians need to consider before making an application to the court to vary a child arrangements order?

When considering an application, the Court’s paramount consideration is the welfare of the child. The Court must also be satisfied that the making of an order is better than making no order at all. Parents should therefore think carefully about the reasons for their application and whether the proposed variation is in the best interests of their children.

What will the court take into consideration when reviewing an application to vary a child arrangements order?

The Court’s paramount consideration is the welfare of the child. The Court will consider the welfare checklist contained within the Children Act 1989, which includes the ascertainable wishes and feelings of the child, the child’s physical, emotional and educational needs, the likely effect on the child of any change in his circumstances and any harm which he has suffered or is at risk of suffering.

Why is it important to seek expert advice from a solicitor when amending a child arrangements order?

Each Child Arrangements Order is decided on the circumstances of the individual family and on what is in the best interests of that particular child. Your family solicitor will be able to advise you on the approach the Court would be likely to take in your specific circumstances and what the Court may consider to be in the best interests of your children.

Get Expert Legal Advice.

For more information, please contact our Family Law Team.

This document is not intended to constitute and should not be used as a substitute for legal advice on any specific matter. No liability for the accuracy of the content of this document, or the consequences of relying on it, is assumed by the author. If you seek further information, please contact Managing Partner Neil Andrews at Coles Miller Solicitors LLP.