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What is a child arrangements order? 

A child arrangements order is a court order that sets out who is responsible for the care of a child. It is usually used when the parents cannot agree on how to split care of their children.

A child arrangements order can state: Who the children live with, where they live and when and how the children will see both parents.

For example, they may spend weeknights in the family home and weekends with the other parent. It can also set out other types of contact such as phone calls, video calls, cards and letters etc.

You need to apply to the family court for a child arrangement order, and the process can include several hearings. Once in place, the order is legally binding and usually lasts until the child is 18 years old. 

Trying to agree with an ex-partner what the arrangements for children should be can often be difficult, it is a topic which is understandably emotionally charged. Speaking with a solicitor early on in will help to guide you through the process, and hopefully, resolve any issues quickly and amicably without the need for a court application.

Show Transcript

A child arrangements order is an order that specifies how a child will share their time between their parents. So, there are two types of child arrangements. The first, is a spend time with, which took over from the previous contact orders. And the second is a lives with order, which took over from the previous residence order.  

A child arrangements order can be applied for by parents, it can be applied for by anybody with parental responsibility, anybody that has one of the old residence orders or anybody with whom the child has been living with for the last 3 years. 

To make an application for a child arrangements order, you need to submit a c100 application to the court. A child arrangements order will last until the child is aged 16 if you have a spend time with child arrangements order and 18 if you have a lives with child arrangements order.

To make an application for a child arrangements order there is a court fee of £230. Whether or not you have additional costs will depend on whether or not you choose to instruct a solicitor. A family lawyer can help you through the process by drafting all of the application forms, advising you throughout as to all of the different options that are available to you and also representing you at the court hearings.

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Ashley Le-Core is a Senior Associate at Stowe Family Law’s Tunbridge Wells office. He handles all areas of family law, including, but not limited to, injunctions, children arrangements, divorce and finances, Special Guardianship and relocation out of the jurisdiction applications.

Date last reviewed: 05/06/2024

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