Child Arrangement Dispute – What you need to know
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A family unit/relationship breaking down can be a very emotional and sensitive time for those involved. It is always more comfortable for any children involved if the parents can amicably come to an agreement regarding their care, but unfortunately many parents end up disagreeing with one another on how to best care for their children moving forward.
When parents separate or divorce and cannot agree on the living and care arrangement of their children it is referred to as a child arrangement dispute. Such disputes may also arise from other situations outside of divorce, such as a parent wishing to relocate with the child or a parent being concerned about the welfare of the child.
Our panel of family law solicitors understand how emotional child arrangement disputes can be, and work tirelessly to reach an agreement that is best for the welfare of the children. Child arrangement disputes can typically be resolved through court orders and Mediation Information and Assessment Meetings (MIAMS). It is generally much better for all parties involved in a dispute for it to be resolved outside of court, and dispute resolution meetings aim to assist in this.
What is a Child Arrangement Order?
A child arrangement order is a legally binding document that sets out the care, living arrangements and contact with children.
If parents can come to an agreement between themselves regarding the child’s care, then child arrangement orders can be agreed at mediation hearings, otherwise they will need to be decided through the court. The order will decide where the child should live, who they should have contact with and how often contact should take place.
Child arrangement orders are legally binding, and failure to comply with them can result in fines and imprisonment. The court will always prioritize the needs and welfare of the children first and also take into account the child’s feelings and preferences surrounding their care.
Resolutions to child arrangement disputes
A First Hearing and Dispute Resolution appointment (FHDRA), is the first court hearing that is made once a dispute surrounding a child arrangement order comes to light. The FHDRA is useful to identify the issues at hand and to assess how the court can help the parties come to a quick solution at an early stage in the process. A Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service representative should also be present for the hearing.
Child arrangement disputes can be complex and emotionally challenging, but there are several ways to resolve them. If the parents cannot come to an agreement during mediation then the case will be progressed to court in which a judge will make a decision regarding contact arrangements and the best interests of the children. Going to court is costly, and so it is always advised to try and come to an agreement in the early stages of the dispute to avoid court fees.
It’s important to remember that the best resolution to a child arrangement dispute will depend on the individual circumstances of each case. Seeking legal advice from a family law solicitor can help you to understand your options and choose the best way forward.
How can Expert Family Law assist?
Our panel of family law solicitors are highly experienced in dealing with child arrangement disputes and can effectively assist clients come to agreeable solutions.
Some of the solicitors on our panel may offer a fixed fee for child arrangement cases. In some circumstances, such as those surrounding domestic abuse, you may be entitled to legal aid to cover your legal fees.
As well as assisting with child arrangements, our panel of family law solicitors can also advise and assist on the process of divorce and the division of assets following the breakdown of a marriage or civil partnership (ancillary relief).
Our team of leading family law specialists have many years of experience and expertise so you can have peace of mind that your legal matters will be dealt with professionally and with empathy. They will guide you through the legal process, helping you to make the difficult decisions in an understanding manner.
Get in touch with our family law team today using the form at the top of the page to find out if a family lawyer from a law firm on our panel could help on your case.
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