Child Arrangement Orders (formerly Residence and Contact)

What issues should you consider?

If you are separating or you have already separated you may be worried about:

  • Where the children should live
  • When and how often they should see both parents
  • Other practical issues, such as whether they should be able to go abroad
  • What name they should be known by
  • Who should be appointed as their Guardian in your Will
  • When the children should see the wider family members

By making these decisions early on, you can help resolve problems and tensions that could arise in the future.

We can help advise you on the best route to take and what the outcomes may be if your case did go to Court.

Grandparents are often very concerned that following a breakdown of a relationship contact with their grandchildren will reduce or even stop. We are experienced in helping Grandparents with contact issues and making applications to Court.

Factors the Court take into account

The Children Act says that the child's welfare is the paramount consideration when the Courts consider any question in relation to the upbringing of a child and the Court will apply what is known as the 'welfare checklist' to help it work out what is best.

The welfare checklist looks at:

  • The child's wishes and feelings, considered in the light of his/her age and understanding
  • Their physical, emotional and educational needs
  • Their age, sex, background and any characteristics which the Court considers relevant
  • The likely effect of any change in the child's circumstances
  • Any harm which the child has suffered or is at risk of suffering
  • How capable each parent is of meeting the child's needs

An independent Child and Family Reporter (CAFCASS officer) may be asked to meet with the family and produce a report to help the Court decide.

Orders a Court can make in relation to children

The Court can make orders setting out where the children should live, when they should see the parent they do not live with and other family members and deal with other issues that concerns the parents. The Court will only make an order it considers that it will be better for the children than making no order.