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Court Application for Child Arrangement following Divorce or Separation

Voluntary Agreements for Child Arrangement

  1. Once a couple separate, ideally you should try to resolve matters with your ex-partner upon a voluntary basis as ultimately it will be far more cheaper, less strenuous and less disruptive for the child. However, the reality is that for many couples this is not possible due to the animosity that arises following the breakdown of a relationship. Even if arrangements can be agreed initially, the reality is that after a period of time, one of the parties become complacent which results in any pre-agreed voluntary arrangements being changed at the last minute either with little or no notice upon very flimsy accuses. If the said applies to your situation then it may be necessary for you to now pursue matters more formally by making an application to court, and often this is where solicitors are needed to help guide you through the process and achieve the best possible solution to your particular circumstances.

How to obtain a Child Arrangement Order

  1. Before any application can be made to the court, it is a requirement for parties to first try and resolve matters through mediation. In this regard, a process will need to be followed whereby the said needs to be explored and only if mediation is not a viable solution and cannot occur for any reason, will you then be entitled to move forward in making an application to court. Often, in practice valuable time can be wasted especially in cases where there is no possible real chance of resolving matters through mediation and in such circumstances an astute solicitor will ensure that the process is followed swiftly so as to avoid wasting unnecessary time especially in circumstances whereon there are other urgent concerns that need to be brought to the attention of the court in the shortest possible timeframe. Sometimes, one party may use mediation to simply delay matters and thereby in such circumstances it pays to have a solicitor to guide you through such situations so that your overall claim and pursuit of the matter is not delayed unnecessarily.

Application to the Court for a Child Arrangement Order

  1. Depending upon the history of your relationship and the concerns being raised in respect to any child or children, the process of making a formal application correctly can be a lengthy process if undertaken correctly. Often we find this initial stage to be very important because if your case is not set out carefully and comprehensively then at later stages delays can occur and thereby it is important that you instruct a good solicitor who will be able to assist at this crucial initial stage. in some circumstances, there may be particular concerns of risk or harm to a child or some other issue of an urgent nature, and if this applies a solicitor will be able to identify the issues and then advise and assist in making an urgent application to the court should the said apply.

Domestic Violence and effect upon Child Arrangement Order

  1. If there are any allegations of domestic violence, then such allegations can have a negative impact upon the progress of a case and thereby it is important that such issues are identified at the early stage so that your appointed solicitor can decide how best to deal with the same in respect to an overall claim. One needs to be aware that if there are any serious allegations of domestic violence then an application for a Child Arrangement Order will not be able to progress substantively until such issues have been resolved and thereby it is important that such issues are handled correctly at the early stage so as to minimise difficulties in this regard.

Cafcass and Local Authority Social Services involvement in Child Arrangement Orders application to Court

  1. Once you have made the application and following an initial hearing, often there are serious disputes as well as allegations against each parent, the court will need to order experts such as Cafcass and if applicable, the local authority social services to provide reports for the benefit of the court. If such reports are ordered by the court, the court will be guided by those reports and any recommendations contained therein and thereby it is important that one understands the importance of such reports and how best to handle investigations that occur as a result of the said. The said are a crucial element of the application for a Child Arrangement Order and thereby if you are considering making such an application it will be wise to understand the scope and significance of such reports with your appointed solicitor so that you are much better prepared.

How long does a Child Arrangement Order last

  1. Unlike voluntary arrangements, one of the benefits of obtaining a formal Child Arrangement Order is that such an order will last until the subject child or children reach the age of 16. In other cases whereon residence is concerned, such order will last until the child or children are 18. Thereby, one of the main benefits of obtaining such an order is that you can have certainty and comfort that arrangements are in place pursuant to a formal order which is particularly helpful in circumstances whereon you do not trust or otherwise have reason to question your ex-partner as to whether or not they will follow any pre-arranged agreements unless it is made by the court. 

Third Party Application for a Child Arrangement Order Grandparents and extended family application for a Child Arrangement Order

  1. Sometimes it is necessary for third parties such as grandparents, uncles or aunties to apply for a Child Arrangement Order. Technically, such applications are possible however there are additional steps that will need to be undertaken before an application can be made and thereby it is important if you are considering such an option to contact a solicitor as early as possible as an experienced solicitor will be able to guide and advise accordingly in relation to your particular circumstances.

Our legal team are experts in all aspects of family and matrimonial law. We can advise at all stages of such matters, whether that be at the early stages when one is contemplating an application to court or even at the later stages if particular difficulties have been encountered and you need an eye of an expert to assist.

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