What are Child Arrangements?

Do you understand what child arrangements are?

Our Pauline O'Rourke answers some commonly asked questions regarding contact, residence and child arrangements.

Quite often I am asked  “I want custody of my child” or “I want visitation rights” or quite simply “I want to see my child”. Getting the terminology right helps to understand what exactly are the rights of children and parents and how best to get the outcome you want.

The terms ‘custody’ and ‘access’ are no longer used and now we refer to residence and contact arrangements. In court proceedings an order is called a Child Arrangements Order  and this can include what time each parent shall share with the child or who the child shall live with and how much time the child shall spend with the other parent. Neither parent has a different label and no longer do we adopt battles and fights over custody and access.

If the parents cannot agree the time they will spend with the child then, if mediation is not an option, either parent can apply for a child arrangements order under section 8 of the Children Act 1989 as before but there is now a presumption of parental “involvement” in the child’s life which “will further the child’s welfare”. This falls just short of shared care but a presumption exists that having both parents in a child’s life is what is best for the child.

I can assure all who come to me for advice and representation in children cases, no one parent is assumed to have the greater right over the child and the focus on the courts is very much on achieving sharing time with and co-parenting that child.

Pauline can be contacted on 0121 270 4760 and paulineorourke@newleafsolicitors.co.uk

or Rugby francinebristo@newleafsolicitors.co.uk

Southampton kellybruton@newleafsolicitors.co.uk

Daventry amytrevellick@newleafsolicitors.co.uk