Child Custody Lawyer – Agreeing Your Child’s Residence

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In the midst of a relationship breakdown or divorce proceedings, determining child custody becomes a crucial yet challenging decision. If you find it difficult to reach a decision on your children’s living arrangements, our team of proficient child custody solicitors are ready to offer the guidance and legal support necessary.

Engaging a competent child custody lawyer can have a significant impact, guaranteeing that your children experience a sense of security, safety, and belonging. This ensures that parents arrive at well-informed decisions, prioritising the needs of their children throughout the process.


Child arrangements


During a divorce or relationship breakdown, your primary focus should be reaching a decision on childcare arrangements for your children. Given the uniqueness of each family, there are no absolute right or wrong answers when it comes to agreeing on child arrangements. Legal rights and responsibilities apply to anyone with parental responsibility, irrespective of whether the children reside with the parent (resident parent) or not.

Establishing a clear agreement on when parents will spend time with their children and ensuring adherence to the arrangement is vital for the children’s happiness and emotional stability.

When making decisions about childcare, it is essential for parents to set aside their differences and prioritise the best interests of the children. Considering mediation is advisable, and if the children are of an age to express their preferences, involving them in the process through a neutral mediator can be beneficial. This impartial third party can help facilitate open communication and assist in reaching a decision that serves the well-being of the children.


Child Arrangement Orders for obtaining contact


If both parents are unable to reach an agreement, a Child Arrangement Order may be necessary. Child Arrangement Orders now replace Child Contact Orders and Residence Orders. A Child Arrangement Order is a type of Court Order which can be obtained through use of family mediators or via the Family Court by a person with parental responsibility to determine child contact arrangements. This type of document is legally binding and determines:


  • Where and with whom the child or children will live
  • which family members the children will spend time with
  • when contact with both parents will take place
  • what other types of contact will take place, and when they will take place until the child is 16 years old


Child Arrangement Order terms can be flexible to meet individual circumstances. They last until the child reaches the age of 16 but can be varied or discharged should circumstances change.

They can help both parents to share a significant role in their child or children’s’ lives. other types of Orders that can be made by the Court regarding child arrangements include Specific Issue Orders, Prohibited Steps Orders and Child Maintenance Orders.


What is the difference between a resident parent and someone with parental responsibility?


A resident parent is the parent who the children live with for the majority of the time. The other parent will usually have contact which is agreed between parents, through mediation, or in some circumstances, a Judge will provide a Court order which states how and how often the other parent will have contact.

Both parents will usually have parental responsibility unless a Court order states otherwise. When both parents have parenting responsibility, this means that they have equal rights and responsibilities towards the children. Equal rights mean that parents have an equal say in how the children are raised; some of the main issues that parents may need to agree upon include education and medical treatment, religion etc. Parents will also be unable to take children out of the country without the agreement of the other parent.


What is child maintenance?


Money is quite often the cause of arguments between divorced or separated parents. Disputes regarding money are usually better resolved using a mediator or through the cooperation of parties without the need to involve a Judge. Costs associated with raising children should be considered when negotiating maintenance payments. Some of the main items that should be considered include:


  • School uniforms, equipment, trips, extra tuition
  • School or nursery fees
  • Travel costs
  • Pocket money
  • Treats
  • Clothing
  • Birthday presents and parties
  • Mobile phones


A decision must be made on who will pay for the expenses and how the payments will be made. In some circumstances, one parent will give money to the other, or they may agree to pay a regular amount into a bank account. A child support agreement should be reviewed regularly to meet the changing needs of your children.

Maintenance decisions can be made between parties and submitted to Court to make them legally binding, or they can be written into an agreement and recorded with your child custody lawyer.

The Child Maintenance Service (CMS) can also be used which involves the residing parent receiving payments from the other parent. The level of payment will depend on the paying parent’s income, how often the child stays with them, and whether maintenance is being paid for any other children.


When is a child arrangement order required?


A Child Arrangement Order is often required in child custody cases when parents are unable to come to an agreement through family mediation, collaboration, or discussions. When this type of Order is required, the Court will determine the arrangements, and they will be legally binding.

To obtain a child arrangement Order, a C100 Form should be submitted to the Family Court alongside the appropriate fee. A C1A form should also be completed if you have suffered from domestic violence or if you and your children are in threat of harm.


What is a Residence Order?


A Residence Order will determine where the children will live and when they will live there. There are two types of Residence Orders: Joint Residency Orders and Standard Contact orders.

If a Joint Residency Order is made, both parents will be allowed equal time with the child, and they will have equal rights when making decisions for the child.

If a Standard Contact Order is made, one parent will be the primary resident parent, and the other will have defined times when they have access to the child. Both parents will still have equal rights and responsibilities, regardless of how much access each parent has.

Joint Residency Orders usually work best when both parents live in close proximity to avoid disruption to the child’s life. However, every family is different, and this type of order may not work well for all circumstances.


Can a non-parent obtain a Residency Order?


In some circumstances, someone who is not the parent of the child may obtain a Residency Order in special circumstances, such as the death of a parent, or if the parents are unable to care for the children.


How can our panel of child custody solicitors assist on your case?


Following the breakdown of a relationship, child custody should be your main concern. A child custody lawyer can assist in negotiations between parents, arranging mediation and advising on when an application to the court should be made. A child custody lawyer will also guide you through the process of applying to the court and will provide representation for your case in court hearings.

When disputes arise between parents, it can be helpful to have someone outside of the relationship to help you navigate through the conflict and provide you with the best advice on moving forward, keeping the needs of your children at the forefront.

They can also provide expert legal advice to parents for meeting the terms of the order and assistance when these terms have not been met.

We understand that disputes involving a child or children and their care can be incredibly complex and sensitive. The solicitors on our panel can provide you with the best advice and assistance on resolving child arrangement disputes and obtaining Orders from the Family Court if the dispute cannot be resolved between the parents or through the process of mediation.

As well as assisting with child arrangements, our panel of family law specialists 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).

We ensure that the family law solicitors on our panel have the skills and experience required to assist on your legal case. We can assure you that your case will be dealt with in a compassionate and understanding manner.

Get in touch today using the form at the top of the page to find out if a child arrangement lawyer from our panel could help on your case.


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