When parents separate, it is essential for them to agree on where the child, or children will live, and how much time they will spend with the other parent.
It is not always possible for parents who separate to agree on these child arrangements. In these sorts of cases, before you can apply to the Court for a Child Arrangement Order, you must first attend a Mediation Information Assessment Meeting (MIAM). The exception to this rule is the non-availability of a mediator, or where there has been violence within the relationship. The purpose of mediating is to make one final attempt to resolve matters, before going to Court.
In addition to parents, stepparents with Parental Responsibility, and anyone named on a Child Arrangement Order and guardians can apply for a Child Arrangements Order. Anyone else wanting to apply for a Child Arrangements Order would have to apply for permission from the Court first.
The starting point for all child arrangements is that the child should spend time with both parents unless, it can be established that said time would adversely affect the child's welfare. A family Court will also be guided, by the following welfare checklist when considering a Child Arrangements Order:
If one parent raises significant welfare concerns as to the other parents parenting, it might be that the Court, will ask the Local Authority, or the Children and Family Court Advisory an Support Service (CAFCASS), to investigate the circumstances of the case, and prepare a report putting forward recommendations as to where the child, or children should live and what time they should spend with the other parent.
Duncan Lewis is ranked and recommended by the Legal 500 UK Legal Directory for its Family & Matrimonial work – and the Duncan Lewis team includes Advanced Members of the Law Society’s Family Panel and members of the Law Society Children Panel – so our team is well placed to help you with any specific issue disputes.
It is important that matters are dealt with amicably where possible, or in the Court arena if necessary. For expert advice and support on agreeing Child Arrangements, call Duncan Lewis Private Law Children Solicitors, or request a call using our online form.