Child arrangements orders are used to confirm who a child will live with or spend time with when a relationship or marriage breaks down.
When a relationship ends and there are children involved, most people can come to an arrangement about where the children spend their time, whether it be half and half spent with each parent or in the week with one parent and on the weekends with the other. A child arrangements order should only be sought if an agreement between all parties cannot be agreed.
Child arrangements will regulate who the child spends time with up until the age of 16 years old, or sometimes 18 years old in certain circumstances.
If you need to apply for a child arrangement order you will have to issue an application, you and your ex-partner will most probably be asked to attend a mediation meeting (this is known as a MIAM-Mediation information and assessment meeting) you both must attend the MIAM, a mediator will then discuss the dispute between the two of you and try and reconcile any differences they can.
A child arrangements order can take between 6 and 12 months, the time it takes can depend on many factors such as relationships between all parties and any safeguarding concerns.
When child arrangements order is made the court will be required to attach something called a warning notice. The child arrangements order must contain a warning notice, this is so an enforcement order could be made. So, if anyone is in breach of the original order, they must know of the existence of the warning notice.
If one member of the party does not agree with the child arrangements order you can appeal but you would need the courts permission to do so.
If one parent breaks the court’s order, the order is a legally binding contract so if it is breached, they will be in contempt of court which could mean they could face fines and even in some cases imprisonment.