Child Arrangement Disputes
When a relationship ends in separation or divorce, there can be a difficult dispute in relation to where the children live and who they spend time with. If you are in this position, then you are likely feeling extremely anxious about what the future might hold.
Perhaps you are the primary care-giver and you want to exclude the other parent entirely, whether due to the threat of harm to the child, domestic violence or otherwise. Alternatively your ex-partner could be threatening to fight you in Court for an order that the children live with them and you are concerned your children could be taken away, or that you will no longer be allowed to see them. It could be a situation whereby your children currently live with the other parent.
Child Arrangement Orders
Whatever the nature of your dispute, it’s important to get legal advice from a Family and Child Law Solicitor that is tailored to your situation. There is a lot of information on the internet, or from people who have had experiences. This can be confusing, misleading and incorrect for your circumstances.
The first thing to know is that the correct term to use in discussions is the ‘Arrangements for the Child’.
Historically they were referred to with the terms ‘custody’ and ‘access’ or ‘residence’ and ‘contact’. These issues were previously dealt with by Residence Orders and Contact Orders, but these have been replaced by a Child Arrangement Order.
This is a Court Order which sets out:
- Where a child should live
- When and where a child should spend time with each parent
- What other types of contact can take place, such as phone calls between the child and the non-resident parent
Options Available for Child Arrangements Orders
When making a decision the Court will always consider the best interests of the children. It doesn’t matter how much you dislike your ex – your children have a right to a relationship with both parents. So, if your children would benefit from having both parents in their lives, then the Court will always encourage that.
Of course, there are times when it’s not suitable for a child to spend time with a parent, perhaps because there is a risk of violence or child abduction. In these situations, the Court may put arrangements in place such as their time should be supervised, or that contact should be stopped altogether.
The Court often need further information before they can make any decision.