In our frequently asked questions article, Sally Harris Family Law Solicitor looks at considerations when applying for a Child Arrangement Order, whether the Coronavirus pandemic has had an impact on Child Arrangement Orders and how the Steeles Law Family Law team can continue to support you and your family through these unprecedented times.
Q1. What is a Child Arrangement Order and what does it put into place?
A Child Arrangement is a Court Order setting out arrangements for a child or children. The arrangements can cover anything from where the children will live, how much time they will spend with each parent, if they are allowed to be taken abroad on holiday and where they spend Christmas, birthdays and holidays. Orders can deal with more specific questions about whether a child can be moved to live abroad or to move away from the local area, what schools a child will attend and decisions with regard to medical treatment.
Q2. What will the Court take into consideration when an application for a Child Arrangement Order is made?
The primary concern is the welfare of the child or children. The Court will always put the child’s interests above anyone else’s and look at any situation and problem from a child focused prospective. The Court will take all of the factors in any case into account including the ages of the parents, their accommodation, ability to parent, etc. Any decision reached however will be in the Court’s opinion what is in the child’s best interests.
Q3. What should parents take into consideration when making a Child Arrangement Order?
The parents should put the child first and make arrangements that will be child focused and in the child’s best interests.
Q4. How can a solicitor help parents making a Child Arrangement Order?
Making arrangements for a child, particularly if you are unable to agree them with the other parent can be very emotional and distressing. A solicitor can take some of the burden from the parent, is able to advise from a neutral non emotional point of view with regard to what is in the child’s best interests and how the Court is likely to view any given set of circumstances. A solicitor can negotiate with the other parent or the other parent’s solicitor to explore the possibilities of reaching agreement.
Q5. What impact does the coronavirus have on Child Arrangement Orders? What guidance would you give to parents during this time?
Child Arrangement Orders remain in place during the lockdown for coronavirus. The terms of an order should therefore be followed but these are unusual times. Parents should look to maintain a routine for their children and a relationship with both of parents in accordance with the Child Arrangement Order provided it is safe to continue to do so. Practical solutions such as greater use of video link and phone calls can be used, particularly where parents live some distance apart. Parents wherever possible should work together to show the children a united front and ensure the children feel safe and supported through what is for them a very unusual time.
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If you would like to take legal advice or would like to discuss any of the points raised in our Child Arrangement Order Q&A our specialist Family lawyer will be able to advise you how to protect yourself and your family for the future, please contact Sally Harris or Sally Briggs in the Steeles Law family team who will be happy to help you via email using firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 01603 598000.
*The information provided in this article is designed to provide useful information on the subject, not to provide specific legal advice.