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Child Arrangements Orders

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A Child Arrangements Order is a court order which stipulates the living arrangements for a child which can cover the following: (a)with whom the child is to live, which in some cases could be a shared care arrangement and (b) when the child is to spend time or otherwise have contact with any person and for what duration.

Our Family lawyers are currently offering a free, initial telephone consultation. You can start the process today by clicking here.

In simple terms contact means the time that a child spends with an adult. In practice there are several ways contact may take place including: (a) direct face to face contact (b) overnight contact (c) supervised contact (d) supported contact (e) indirect contact through letters, cards or by means of electronic communications.

Why would someone need this service?

This service would be important to the parents or close relatives of children who are concerned about the living and contact arrangements for children with whom they have a close relationship, for instance when a parent or grandparent does not feel that they are being allowed sufficient contact with their child or grandchild. There may also be situations in which a parent or other relative is concerned that the child is not being looked after properly by the parent with whom they are living and that they would be better off living elsewhere, and they may want advice on what steps they can take.

It can be a difficult subject to approach and many may find they get nowhere in discussions directly with the other party or find it difficult to raise the subject at all. They may feel that the best course of action would be to seek advice from legal professionals.

How does the process work?

There are three ways in which it may be possible to resolve these disputes:

(a) It may be possible to reach agreement directly between the parties just by discussion, helped by solicitors, in which case as long as the terms of agreement are confirmed in writing and both parties have a copy of that it may not be necessary to formalise the arrangements any further if both parties are agreed on them.

(b) There are a number of local mediation services available. We can provide advice to you regarding this, such as how the mediation is likely to work and to obtain costs estimates for the mediation. Grant Saw could also support you by being on hand to talk about issues which arise from the mediation via telephone or at a meeting whilst the mediation is ongoing. We could also then assist in formalising any agreement which is reached following the mediation.

(c) If mediation is refused or does not work, or it is not considered appropriate to your personal circumstances, then a more formal method of sorting out the problems over the arrangements for the children is available through the local county court. A parent or close relative of the children will file the relevant court form and pay a fee (presently £215) to start the process. The court office will then fix a date for a first hearing. At this hearing the Judge will be sitting with a Welfare Officer from CAFCASS to try to help the parties to reach an agreement themselves before proceeding further with the court process.

If, after the first hearing, the parties are not agreed on what arrangements are best for the child then the Judge will make some court orders as to what needs to happen before there can be a final contested court hearing to determine the issue of what arrangements for the children are in dispute. That normally involves both parties filing detailed written statements giving their views on what the best arrangements are for the children.

An independent Welfare Officer from CAFCASS will also talk to both parties with a view to that officer providing a background report to the court to assist it in making a decision.

There would then normally be two more court hearings, a short one to make sure everything is ready and a final hearing perhaps lasting a day. That whole process is likely to take up to nine months from start to finish although the court can at any hearing make orders about what should happen in the interim while the case is going on.

How long does it take?

A first hearing will usually take place between six and eight weeks after the start of a court case. The whole process from the start to a final hearing may well take upwards of nine months although if agreement is reached between the parties it should normally be possible to stop the process as and when such agreement is reached.

Is it expensive? How do the costings work?

Your first consultation with us will be for a fixed fee of £100 + VAT for a face-to-face consultation of up to one hour. When we meet, we will discuss with you what the costs are likely to be if the case goes to a final hearing.

What should people consider before calling?

Before calling Grant Saw, clients should consider whether they have made sufficient attempts to reach an agreement themselves and whether they have had any success in these efforts; if they have started to make progress, it is usually worthwhile to persevere to see if an agreement can be reached. Advice from us may however be helpful to you in trying to reach agreement.

A client should also consider whether mediation might be a better and more cost effective option, rather than issuing court proceedings. Mediation can be a very positive experience in concentrating on the needs of the child concerned, if the mediation process is started early enough.

Why are Grant Saw the best people for the job?

Here at Grant Saw we have an experienced team of lawyers, who specialise in this area and provide an efficient and cost effective service.

Contact and residence disputes concerning children myth busting

What myths surround this area?

Some people (and the media) still use the words ‘custody’ and ‘access’ when discussing this subject. However, the courts now use terms ‘residence orders’ and ‘contact orders’ to describe living arrangements and arrangements for the child to see other people regularly.

For more information or to discuss a specific family matter, please email family@grantsaw.co.uk or contact the team on 020 8858 6971 today.

We are currently offering a free, initial telephone consultation. Feel free to contact us or leave your details here and a member of the team will contact you at a time that suits.

Meet the Child Arrangements Orders team
Ray Crudgington
Managing Partner
greenwich
02083054224
ray.crudgington@grantsaw.co.uk
Maria Lati
Partner
Head of Residential Property
blackheath
02083054229
maria.lati@grantsaw.co.uk
Mike Clary
Partner
Head of Family
greenwich
02083054237
mike.clary@grantsaw.co.uk
Kalpa Prajapati
Partner
Head of Private Client
blackheath
02083053536
kalpa.prajapati@grantsaw.co.uk
Mario Savvides
Partner
Head of Commercial Property
greenwich
02083053531
mario.savvides@grantsaw.co.uk
Sarah-Kate Jackson
Partner
Head of Litigation
greenwich
02083054236
sarah-kate.jackson@grantsaw.co.uk
Adina-Leigh Collins
Litigation
Solicitor
greenwich
02083053556
adina-leigh.collins@grantsaw.co.uk
Aimal Gram
Commercial Property
Solicitor
greenwich
02083053524
aimal.gram@grantsaw.co.uk
Aisha Mohammed
Residential Property
Solicitor
greenwich
02083054228
aisha.mohammed@grantsaw.co.uk
Aishat Balogun
Aishat Balogun
Family
Solicitor
greenwich
02083054214
aishat.balogun@grantsaw.co.uk
An Le Tran
Commercial Property
Professional Support Solicitor
greenwich
02083054226
anle.tran@grantsaw.co.uk
Angus Young
Litigation
Solicitor
greenwich
02083054225
angus.young@grantsaw.co.uk
Atifha Aftab
Atifha Aftab
Family
Solicitor
greenwich
02083054238
atifha.aftab@grantsaw.co.uk
Bimal Kotecha
Litigation
Solicitor
greenwich
02083053523
bimal.kotecha@grantsaw.co.uk
Charlotte Warren
Charlotte Warren
Private Client
Solicitor
blackheath
02083054231
charlotte.warren@grantsaw.co.uk
Claire Mac Mahon
Litigation
Solicitor
greenwich
02083053537
claire.macmahon@grantsaw.co.uk
Deborah Taite
Residential Property
Solicitor
blackheath
02083053542
deborah.taite@grantsaw.co.uk
Emily Pearce
Residential Property
Solicitor
greenwich
02083053526
emily.pearce@grantsaw.co.uk
Georgia Beales
Litigation
Paralegal
greenwich
02083054206
georgia.beales@grantsaw.co.uk
James McKimm
James McKimm
Corporate and Commercial
Solicitor
greenwich
02083054217
james.mckimm@grantsaw.co.uk
Jeremy Brooks
Jeremy Brooks
Private Client
Solicitor
blackheath
02083053534
jeremy.brooks@grantsaw.co.uk
Joanna Godden
Notary Public
Notary
greenwich
02083083535
joanna.godden@grantsaw.co.uk
Kim Whitaker
Kim Whitaker
Corporate and Commercial
Head of Corporate and Commercial
greenwich
02083053539
kim.whitaker@grantsaw.co.uk
Lauren Smith
Employment and Family
Paralegal
greenwich
02083053543
lauren.smith@grantsaw.co.uk
Maleeha Iqbal
Residential Property
Licensed Conveyancer
greenwich
02083054232
maleeha.iqbal@grantsaw.co.uk
Mandeep Clair
Family
Solicitor
greenwich
02083054235
mandeep.clair@grantsaw.co.uk
Michael Pope
Employment
Consultant Solicitor
greenwich
02083053540
michael.pope@grantsaw.co.uk
Michelle Pinnington
Michelle Pinnington
Residential Property
Solicitor
greenwich
02083054216
michelle.pinnington@grantsaw.co.uk
Noella Gooden
Employment
Solicitor (Australian qualified)
greenwich
02083053543
noella.gooden@grantsaw.co.uk
Raj Waghela
Raj Waghela
Residential Property
Solicitor
greenwich
02083053529
raj.waghela@grantsaw.co.uk
Randeep Thethy
Randeep Thethy
Residential Property
Solicitor
greenwich
02083054209
randeep.thethy@grantsaw.co.uk
Sarah Conner
Sarah Conner
Private Client
Solicitor
blackheath
02083054234
sarah.conner@grantsaw.co.uk
Simran Lalli
Simran Lalli
Employment
Solicitor
greenwich
02083054208
simran.lalli@grantsaw.co.uk
Susan Collins
Commercial Property
Solicitor
greenwich
02083054200
susan.collins@grantsaw.co.uk
Tatiana Zenina
Tatiana Zenina
Private Client
Solicitor
blackheath
02083054239
tatiana.zenina@grantsaw.co.uk
Trisha Djemal
Trisha Djemal
Residential Property
Consultant Solicitor
blackheath
02083053546
trisha.djemal@grantsaw.co.uk
Tyrone Grant
Residential Property
Head of Leasehold Enfranchisement
blackheath
02083053522
tyrone.grant@grantsaw.co.uk
Denise
Accounts Staff
greenwich
02088586971
enquiries@grantsaw.co.uk
Jamie
Support Staff
Head of IT
greenwich
02088586971
enquiries@grantsaw.co.uk
Jayne Lye
Support Staff
Office Manager
greenwich
02083054204
jayne.lye@grantsaw.co.uk
Kasia
Accounts Staff
greenwich
02088586971
enquiries@grantsaw.co.uk
Michael Tobin
Michael Tobin
Support Staff
Marketing and Business Development Manager
greenwich
02083053550
michael.tobin@grantsaw.co.uk
Laura Danquah
Compliance Manager
greenwich
02083054222
laura.danquah@grantsaw.co.uk
Sue Holness
Support Staff
Customer Services
greenwich
02083054221
sue.holness@grantsaw.co.uk