When parents do not agree on where a child should live after separation divorce or dissolution of a civil partnership, the courts can step in and resolve the matter with a Child Arrangement Order – previously known as a Residence Order.
The court will always put the welfare of the child and first before any parental wishes, to decide who will be the residential parent and main carer of the child.
Fathers who wish to be the residential parent may have to prove to the court that they have already acted as the main carer to their children, as the court will assume that the mother has acted as the main carer.
Child Arrangement Orders made in the courts of England and Wales give the residential parent certain freedoms in the care of their children, including being able to take their child away (ie outside England and Wales) for one month without the permission of the other parent.
Child Arrangement Orders granting Parental Responsibility to a partner or other party replace what used to be called joint Residence Orders and shared Residence Orders.
Child Arrangement Orders grant Parental Responsibility to a parent in cases where a couple might have formed a civil partnership or simply lived together and had a child together – or in cases where couples conceived a child through IVF, but the biological mother or father may still have contact with the child.
Child Arrangements Orders can be flexible arrangements to fit in the lifestyles and employment of both parents, as well as the child’s schooling arrangements.
The Child Maintenance Service may take into account the amount of time a parent spends with their child – and it is vital for parents to take expert legal advice from a specialist child care lawyer in cases involving a Child Arrangement Order.
In cases where agreement on residence cannot be reached between a couple, Duncan Lewis can arrange Family Mediation to help both parties work through the issues and reach a solution, without recourse to the courts.
The courts will always take into account the welfare of the child so working through any differences within lawyer supported Family Mediation can help avoid traumatic court action.
Both parents can appoint their own Duncan Lewis child care lawyer to give independent legal advice at every stage of the mediation process – Duncan Lewis’ own Mediators include Resolution qualified Professional Practice Consultants.
Duncan Lewis is ranked by the Legal 500 2014 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 child residence issues.
Duncan Lewis children lawyers offer a fixed fee for an initial client interview and assessment of a private child arrangement/residence matter.
After a case has been assessed, it is usually possible for a fixed fee arrangement to be put in place – and Duncan Lewis will always advise clients of the costs in advance.
Duncan Lewis is also one of the UK’s largest providers of Legal Aid family law services – including child care law – and in some cases may be able to offer Legal Aid funding for child care law cases, including help with the costs of applying for court orders if a client is on benefits or has a low income.
Duncan Lewis children lawyers always advise clients who are seeking help with child care matters – or who are in dispute over child residence – to get in touch as soon as possible before the situation escalates.
Once you have contacted Duncan Lewis, we can act swiftly in any child care matter and put in place measures to help resolve the issues and prevent further dispute and/or legal costs mounting up.
For expert legal advice on all child care matters – including Child Arrangements Orders and child residence arrangements – contact Duncan Lewis Children Lawyers on 020 7923 4020.