southgate solicitors

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Family issues, Legal solutions.

We're here to help you

Send your details to us and we will call you back to take further information about your matter.

If you are looking for help with child arrangements our specialist solicitors can help you. In addition to office meetings, we offer remote meetings by telephone or video if preferred. To discuss your options call us 24/7 on 0208 004 0065 or email us at [email protected] 

Child Arrangements

A Child Arrangements Order (CAO) is a court order issued by the family court that determines the arrangements for a child’s upbringing when their parents or guardians are separated, divorced, or unmarried. It outlines with whom the child will live (residence) and when they will spend time with each parent or guardian (contact or visitation). 

Key points about Child Arrangements Orders include: 

  • Residence and Contact: A CAO specifies where the child will live (residence) and how they will spend time with each parent or guardian (contact). This may include details about overnight stays, holidays, weekends, and special occasions. 
  • Parental Responsibility: A CAO does not alter or remove the parental responsibility of either parent unless specifically stated. Both parents continue to have legal responsibilities for their child’s upbringing, regardless of the arrangements set out in the order. 
  • Involvement of Other Parties: In addition to parents, other parties with a significant interest in the child’s welfare, such as grandparents or other relatives, may also apply for a CAO to seek contact or residence arrangements. 
  • Child’s Best Interests: The court’s paramount consideration when making a CAO is the welfare and best interests of the child. The court considers various factors, including the child’s wishes and feelings (depending on their age and understanding), their physical, emotional, and educational needs, and any risk of harm. 
  • Types of Orders: CAOs can be made by consent (agreed between the parties) or following a contested court hearing. They can cover specific issues related to residence and contact or be comprehensive, addressing multiple aspects of the child’s upbringing. 
  • Enforcement and Breach: Breaching the terms of a CAO is a serious matter and can result in legal consequences. The court has powers to enforce compliance with the order and may impose penalties or sanctions for non-compliance. 
  • Modification or Variation: CAOs can be modified or varied if circumstances change significantly, such as a parent’s relocation, changes in the child’s needs, or improvements in parental relationships. Applications to vary CAOs require approval from the court. 

Overall, Child Arrangements Orders play a crucial role in determining the living arrangements and contact arrangements for children in situations where their parents or guardians are separated or divorced. They aim to promote stability, continuity, and the child’s welfare while facilitating ongoing relationships with both parents. 

What can we do

At southgate solicitors, we offer comprehensive assistance tailored to your needs throughout your child agreement order. Our team of experienced professionals understand the intricacies of family law and are dedicated to providing you with the expertise and support you need during what can be a daunting and highly emotional time.  We have Resolution members and also hold Law Society Family Law Advanced Panel Accreditation which demonstrates our knowledge, skill and expertise in this area of law. 

If you wish to read more about this area of law we have some frequently asked questions at the end of this page – feel free to scroll down to read more.

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Our client services team will discuss details of your case during a no-obligation call to ensure that it is something we can help you with.

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FAQs

A Child Arrangements Order (CAO) is a legal order issued by the family court in England and Wales that determines the arrangements for a child’s upbringing when their parents or guardians are separated, divorced, or unmarried. 

A CAO specifies where the child will live (residence) and how they will spend time with each parent or guardian (contact or visitation). It outlines the arrangements for overnight stays, holidays, weekends, and special occasions. 

Parents, guardians, and other parties with a significant interest in the child’s welfare, such as grandparents or other relatives, can apply for a CAO to seek contact or residence arrangements. 

The court’s paramount consideration when making a CAO is the welfare and best interests of the child. Factors considered include the child’s wishes and feelings (depending on their age and understanding), their physical, emotional, and educational needs, and any risk of harm. 

Yes, parents can agree on arrangements for their child without going to court. In such cases, they may submit a consent order to the court for approval, formalising the agreed-upon arrangements. 

Breaching the terms of a CAO is a serious matter and can result in legal consequences. The court has powers to enforce compliance with the order and may impose penalties or sanctions for non-compliance. 

Yes, CAOs can be modified or varied if circumstances change significantly, such as a parent’s relocation, changes in the child’s needs, or improvements in parental relationships. Applications to vary CAOs require approval from the court. 

Depending on their age and understanding, children’s wishes and feelings may be taken into account by the court when making decisions about CAOs. However, the court ultimately prioritizes the child’s welfare and best interests above their preferences. 

The time it takes to obtain a CAO varies depending on factors such as the complexity of the case, whether the parties can reach agreement, and the court’s schedule. In some cases, CAOs can be obtained relatively quickly, while in others, the process may take several months. 

While legal representation is not mandatory, it’s advisable to seek advice from a qualified family law solicitor when applying for a CAO. A solicitor can provide guidance on the legal process, help negotiate arrangements, and represent your interests in court if necessary. 

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We're here to help you

Send your details to us and we will call you back to take further information about your matter, or you can click the number below.

We're here to help you

Send your details to us and we will call you back to take further information about your matter, or you can click the number below.