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What is a Child Arrangements Order and How Much Does it Cost?

Any dispute involving children can be emotionally straining on any parent or family member. We have solicitors who are Family Law and Children Law members with the Law Society and are fully prepared to advise and help you with any issues that are currently ongoing in your life.

What is a Child Arrangements Order?

Within the jurisdiction of England and Wales any disputes involving a child between two adults, that could be either the natural parents of the child, or an immediate relative i.e. grandparent, auntie, uncle etc. can make an application for a Child Arrangements Order with applicants who are immediate relatives seeking permission to make an application in the first instance. There are two types of Child Arrangement Order’s available, they are; a Child Arrangements Order for whom the child is to live with and a Child Arrangements Order for whom the child is to spend time with. The following will explain in general terms of what each Child Arrangements Order will allow a parent to do, the likely costs of obtaining such an Order and what next to do if you are interested in obtaining a Child Arrangements Order.

Child Arrangements Order with whom the child is to have contact with?

Prior to 2014, a Child Arrangements Order for whom the child is to have contact with was otherwise known as a “Contact Order” and for Orders which were made prior to the changes, are still referred to Contact Orders today. For a parent or individual who successfully obtained a Contact Order in their favour, it allowed that individual to have contact/spend time with that said child(ren) within the Order. In practice, it is commonly used to help parents have regular contact with their child(ren) whether that is re-establishing contact that had ceased for a significant period of time, or whether a particular parent is confirming their position and legally binding any agreement made in respect of any contact that is intending to occur.

The majority of clients that we see, they seek our assistance to help re-establish contact. In the majority of cases the reason for contact being lost is because of a breakdown in communication with the parents of the child(ren). Typically upon a breakdown of a relationship, whether that be a divorce or separation between non-married couples. We encourage any parent that wishes to re-establish contact with a child, regardless of time that has elapsed since last contact with your child(ren) to come and see one of our many experienced Family Law solicitors to discuss how to re-establish contact with your child(ren).

Child Arrangements Order with whom the child is to live with?

A Child Arrangements Order with whom the child is to live with, was referred to as a “Residence Order” prior to 2014; such an order establishes with whom the child(ren) are to live with on a full-time or shared basis. This is now referred to as a “Lives with Order”. In many cases this will mean that either the mother or father of the child(ren) will be the primary carer. In some cases the parents will share the care of the child(ren), commonly known as a shared care arrangement.

Some clients will also wish to make an application for a Lives with Order because they have serious concerns relating to the safety of their child(ren). The role of the Family Court is to conduct thorough and an in-depth investigation into the care and day to day needs of your child(ren), whilst having the best interests of the children as their most important factor.

A Live with Order can be made at any time during a child’s life and will cease to have any effect once the child obtains of the age of 16 or as stated in the Order itself. The law states that once a child reaches the age of 16 they are able to make informed decisions about which parent they wish to live with, so long as they have a sufficient understanding. A Family Judge is able, at their discretion, to extend the period of the Order until the child attains the age of 18.

The Likely Cost

Kew Law LLP’s costs to meet with you face to face and if necessary, draft an application on your behalf, varies on a case by case basis. Our estimated costs will be dependent on the issues of the case, the complexities of the law and the powers of the Family Court. Legal costs commence from £1,500 plus VAT (excluding disbursements such as a court fee(s) and the fees of any Barrister representing you at Court hearings). We can offer you an initial fixed appointment at the reduced rate of £120 plus VAT, at one of our many offices to discuss the matter in further detail with you.

What Next?  

Please contact us on 0800 987 8156 and speak to a friendly member of our Family Department and ask any question and/or to make an appointment at one of our offices to meet with one of our family law specialists.

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