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Family & Childcare

Child Arrangements Orders

Child Arrangements Orders

A child arrangements order provides where a child should live.  In circumstances where parents separate and there is a dispute about where a child should live, the courts view the welfare of your child as the first and paramount concern.  We will encourage and assist you and your former partner to achieve a swift and painless resolution of your differences.

In practice, where a mother and father have separated, there is probably a presumption that the mother has been the main carer and if this has not been the case, the father has the burden to prove this.

When deciding about a child arrangements order, the Court refers to a statutory checklist:

  • The wishes and feelings of the child, in light of their age and understanding
  • The physical, emotional and educational needs of the child
  • The likely effect of any change in the child’s circumstances
  • The child’s age, sex, background and any other characteristics the Court considers relevant
  • Any harm the child has suffered, or is at risk of suffering
  • How capable each parent is of meeting the needs of the child
  • The powers of the Court

The Court will also consider:

  • If it is in the interests of children to see the parent they do not live with
  • That the future for the children is more important than what happened in the past

Where a child arrangements order is in force, the person who has the child living with them can take the child outside England and Wales for up to a month at a time without needing the permission of any other persons who have parental responsibility or the Court.

Child arrangements orders also provide someone who is not a legal parent of a child with parental responsibility, for example:

  • One parent’s unmarried new partner
  • One parent’s former partner, who is not a legal parent of the child, but with whom the child spends regular time
  • The biological father of a child who is co-parenting with a lesbian couple in circumstances where he is not legally the father
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