What is a Child Arrangements Order?

What is a Child Arrangements Order?

A Child Arrangements Order is a court order which regulates with whom a child is to live and how a child is to spend time with each parent.

Such orders are governed by Section 8 of the Children Act 1989, with the primary consideration being what is in the best interests of the child(ren). This will of course vary from family to family.

To determine what is in the best interest of the child(ren), the Court considers points within the ‘welfare checklist’ which can be summarised as follows:

  • The wishes and feelings of the child concerned dependent on their age and level of understanding;
  • The child’s physical, emotional and educational needs;
  • The likely effect on the child if circumstances changed;
  • Any harm the child has suffered or may be at risk of suffering;
  • How capable the parents (or any other person who the court considers relevant) of meeting the child’s needs;
  • The powers available to the court in the given proceedings.

Typically, a Child Arrangements Order will expire when a child reaches 16 years old.

If a parent breaches this order, they will be in contempt of court. A departure from the terms of a Child Arrangements Order would not be a breach if this is agreed by both parties. It will be necessary for the Court to vary the order for such changes to become legally binding.

If you would like to discuss any issues regarding child custody or arrangements for contact, please contact Yasmin on 01482 974479 or email Yasmin.palmer@jameslegal.co.uk

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