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Are you Having Contact Difficulties with your Children?

If your contact arrangements concerning your child have broken down or cannot be agreed on, or you wish to secure living arrangements for your child or secure contact with them, you may wish to consider obtaining a Child Arrangements Order from the Family Court.   

Applying for a Child Arrangements Order?

Should you wish to obtain a Child Arrangements Order, it is important to note that unless you qualify for an exemption, you must first attend a mediation session in an attempt to resolve contact matters.  Here at Kew Law LLP, we can talk to you about mediation and we can arrange your meeting with a mediator on your behalf.

You may of course find that by attending a mediation session, you are able to achieve an amicable agreement between the parties.  However, should mediation be unsuccessful, applying to the Court for a Child Arrangements Order could determine the following:

  • Where your child is to live;
  • If it is safe for your child to have contact with both parents, when the child will spend time with each parent;
  • Where the contact will take place and how long for; and
  • What other types of contact can take place (e.g. indirect contact such as telephone calls, FaceTime, etc).

How the Court decide whether a Child Arrangements Order should be made?

In order to reach a decision as to whether the Order should be made, the Court will give priority to the following principles:

  • The child’s welfare is of the paramount importance;
  • The court shall have regard to the general principle that any delay is likely to prejudice the welfare of the child; and
  • The court shall not make an order unless it considers that doing so would be better for the child than making no order at all.

The Court will also have regard to what is termed the “welfare checklist”. This includes the Court considers the child’s wishes and feelings (considered in the light of the child’s age and understanding), the child’s physical, emotional and educational needs. The Court will also consider the likely effect on the children of any change in their circumstances, as well as their age, sex, background, and any characteristic of theirs which the court considers relevant.

In addition to the above, the Court will consider any harm which the child may have suffered or is at risk of suffering, how capable each of their parents, and any other person in relation to whom the court considers the question to be relevant, is of meeting the child’s needs and the range of powers available to the court.

What does it mean if a Child Arrangements Order is made?

In the event the Court grants a Child Arrangements Order, the arrangements for the child will therein be legally binding, meaning the other party is compelled to comply with the arrangements ordered by the Court.  

If you would like further information or guidance, please contact us on 0800 987 8156 to speak with one of our family law specialists who would be happy to talk to you.

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