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Arrangements for Children

On the breakdown of a relationship, arrangements for any children will need to be agreed. If parents are unable to agree these arrangements between themselves, an application will need to be made to court for a Child Arrangements Order.

Getting a child arrangement order

We will guide you through the process, signpost you to appropriate services which will be of benefit to you and your family. We will consider whether your children should be separately represented at court and instruct any independent expert the court deems necessary. We have experience of instructing a wide range of experts to assist and support our client's case.

After the court process is finalised, the parents will have a clear court order setting out the arrangements for the children; however what happens if those arrangements break down after the order is obtained?

If a parent prevents the other from spending time with the children as set out in the order without real justification, this is a breach of the order. When making a child arrangements order, the courts are required to attach a notice warning of the consequences of failing to comply with it.  The Court has a wide range of powers in the event of a breach taking place without reasonable excuse, and includes:-

  • A variation of the order to reconsider the contact arrangements or where the child should live
  • The making of an enforcement order requiring the parent in breach of the order to undertake unpaid work
  • An order for compensation for financial loss
  • A fine
  • Committal to prison

Breaching a child arrangement order

If a court is to consider a breach of the order, a party will need to make an application to the court for enforcement. When the court considers whether to make an enforcement order, the court must be satisfied that making the order is necessary and proportionate to the seriousness and frequency of the party breaching the order.

The court will consider:-

  • The reasons for the breach
  • The effect the breach will have on the child
  • The welfare of the child
  • Whether advice from CAFCASS is required on an appropriate way of moving forward.

Concern has however arisen amongst some practitioners that courts are often slow to respond to an application for enforcement and are reluctant to penalise the parent in breach; particularly if the defaulting parent is the one with whom the children live. It is felt that this sends a dangerous message in that court orders are optional, not mandatory and that the relationship with the non-resident parent is meaningless.

For more information on this subject read our blog post, Breach of child arrangements order - What should I do next?

What to expect from your first meeting with us

We have put together some guidance to give you an idea about what to expect during the initial consultation appointment and the type of information we will ask for. It has been modelled on an appointment for a client who is considering or going through a divorce, but the general principles apply to all appointments. Click HERE to download.

How we can help

We have Family Law solicitors who are recognised specialists in and have specialist accreditation in Children Law. If you need advice on obtaining a Child Arrangement Order, please complete our form below or call 0330 0945 500.

Arrangements for Children
5/5 Star review
My first introduction to Neves to handle a commercial lease and all related documentation surrounding mortgage application. Katy made the job easy and turned around the whole process with speed and efficiency with no issues.
5/5 Star review
I had used Neves to purchase a house as they were recommended. Unfortunately i was assigned another solicitor who was awful. Thankfully she left and Alima and Awais took over the final registering process which was filled with issues. They did a fantastic job, Alima always responded and was professional. This was much more like the service i was expecting in the first place when they were recommended to me. Due to these two, i would happily use Neves again.
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Neves recently undertook our conveyancing and did an excellent job; the communication from Charlene Shillingford and her team throughout the whole process was top notch - I don’t recall being kept so up to date during the selling and buying of a house before. Queries were handled quickly and with the minimum of fuss, even when ‘the other side’ were being ‘difficult’. I’ve no reservation in recommending Neves. My heartfelt thanks to Charlene and the conveyancing team for their diligence and care during what can be a fraught time.
5/5 Star review
Beth Woodward, I wanted to say thank you for supporting me on my recent divorce. Faced with one of the most aggressive and unpleasant legal firms in London, you led me through both the family and financial divorce courts and more than achieved every one of my goals for the divorce. Most importantly, I have equal time parenting with my two girls and a really fair settlement so I can support them financially, both not even remotely offered by the other side. You listened and supported me when I really went for it, kept me sane through the FDR and court visits and also gave me the tough messages when I need to hear it. Thank you, I can’t quite explain how we did it, but we did 😊 😊 😊 😊
5/5 Star review
Emily has supported me through a divorce with excellent advice and guidance at every stage. All issues and options were explained clearly and fully. Possible outcomes were fully outlined to me throughout the process. Emily's professionalism has been of the highest standard. The kind and understanding manner in which Emily has supported me at all stages of the process is something that I am extremely grateful for. I literally felt the pressure shift from my shoulders. This is why I give 5 stars for the assistance I received.
Beth Woodward
Partner and Head of Divorce and Family Law
Heidi Fleming
Senior Associate - Divorce and Family Law
Tina Shah
Senior Associate - Divorce and Family Law
Emily Pope
Associate - Divorce and Family Law
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