The breakdown of a relationship can be a stressful and emotional time for all involved. It can raise questions for parents and children regarding who the children will live with, how time will be divided and further contact.
Here we answer some of the most commonly asked questions regarding arrangements for children.
How are child arrangements agreed?
Arrangements in relation to where a child will live, when they will spend time with each parent and additional contact should ideally be discussed and agreed upon between both parents. It is in the interest of all parties if these arrangements can be agreed upon without going to Court.
In instances where it is not possible to agree child arrangements, either parent can apply to the Courts for a Child Arrangements Order. – This will mean that a court will decide on the arrangements for the child. In making a decision regarding child arrangements, the court will take into consideration:
- The child’s physical, emotional and educational needs
- The impact a change in circumstances will have upon the child
- The ability of each parent to meet the child’s needs
- The child’s age, sex, background and characteristics
- Subject to their age, any wishes and feelings of the child
What is a Child Arrangements Order?
A Child Arrangements Order is a legally binding court order implemented by the Family Courts to outline who a child(ren) lives with, or when a child spends time with each parent and arrangements regarding the time spent with each parent.
How long does a Child Arrangements Order last?
Once established, the arrangements in relation to contact as set out in a Child Arrangements Order remain in place until the child reaches the age of 16, unless the Order outlines otherwise, or the parties agree a variation of the order between themselves.
Details regarding where the child will live however remain legally binding until the child reaches the age of 18.
Can a Child Arrangements Order be changed?
As circumstances change and children get older, it is possible that the arrangements as originally set out in a Child Arrangements Order will become unsuitable for those involved. It is therefore possible to apply for a variation of the order, or for a variation to be agreed between parents. If an agreed variation cannot be reached one parent will make an application to court and thereafter outline the proposed changes and the reasons why these changes would be in the best interests of the child(ren).
If you would like to speak to a member of our Family Law team regarding applying for a variation to a Child Arrangements Order, please contact Kara Webster or Nicholas Clough on 0161 6155554, by email to Kara.Webster@psg-law.co.uk or Nicholas.Clough@psg-law.co.uk or via our livechat tab.
Can child arrangements be agreed through mediation?
Yes, child arrangements can be agreed through Mediation. Mediation can in fact be a more positive manner in which to discuss and agree upon child arrangements, supporting a more communicative and long term relationship between both parties.
Likewise they can be agreed between Collaborative solicitors.
If you would like further information regarding mediation, please visit https://www.psg-law.co.uk/how-can-we-help-you/family/family-mediation/