What Are Family Court Child Arrangement Orders & What Do They Cover?
Although the breakdown of a relationship is hard on everyone involved, it can be more complex if there are children involved. Making the correct arrangements for your children after a divorce or separation is absolutely crucial to their upbringing, and decisions about where they’ll live and how much time they’ll spend with the other parent are incredibly important. In some cases, separating couples are able to decide this arrangement together, but sadly disputes are common.
What are Child Arrangements?
The terms "custody" and "access" or "residence" and "contact" have been commonly used in the past to refer to circumstances involving children. They’re now referred to as ‘child arrangements’ and are a vital factor in determining the future care of your children after the breakdown of a relationship. Where separating couples are unable to decide the arrangement together, the courts can assist.
A Child Arrangements Order can be applied for through the courts and will determine who the children will live with and the regularity of their time spent with the other parent. Because every case is different, the Court does not have a pre-determined idea as to whether the children should live with one parent or the other and certainly does not have an automatic view as to whether the child/children should live with their mother or father. Every family is different and therefore arrangements vary accordingly. It’s also worth noting that before applying to Court, in most circumstances, you will have to show that you’ve attended a mediation meeting.
Under the Children Act 1989, both parents normally have a legal responsibility to look after their children, financially and otherwise, until they are 18 years old or have left full-time education. However, if a father is not married to the mother of the children and not registered on the child's birth certificate, he will not automatically have parental responsibility. Additionally, if the father is registered on the birth certificate, but this happened before December 2003, he will also not automatically have parental responsibility.
What Does a Child Arrangement Order Cover?
As a summary, a Child Arrangements Order will cover who your child/children should live with, how much time the child/children should spend with the other parent, and any specific issues relating to the child/children’s school, medical or religious matters. For any specific decisions regarding your child’s upbringing such as where they go to school, decisions surrounding medical care, or whether they should receive a religious education, it is possible to apply for a Specific Issue Order. You can also apply for a Prohibited Steps Order to stop the other parent from making a decision about the child’s upbringing, for example, moving abroad or changing the name of the child without the consent of the other parent.
Help with Child Arrangement Orders
Here at Vines Legal, we’ve got extensive knowledge of child arrangements, and years of experience in helping our clients through the process of separation and divorce. If you are considering a separation, or going through a divorce, and want to ensure that arrangements regarding your children are decided upon as smoothly and amicably as possibly, please contact us on 01246 555610 for a free initial consultation. We’d be happy to explain all of the options available to you in a friendly, professional manner.
By Vines Legal on 24 Oct 2022, 14:39 PM