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Arrangements for Children

Disputes between parents about where their children should live or how often they should visit the other parent can occur at any time but are usually associated with the breakdown of the parent’s relationship. Irrespective of when the dispute arises our experienced family law team can help.  

In the emotional rollercoaster of separation or divorce it can be difficult to agree arrangements for children. Our family law team has extensive experience in helping parents to resolve their disputes in a sensitive and supportive way. Arrangements that are agreed by parents through negotiation are more likely to be successful for the long term and therefore meet the best interests of their children.

The Family Court recognises that parents are best placed to make decisions about their children and encourages negotiation more so that direct Court intervention. Above everything else the Court expects parents to have the welfare of children as their paramount consideration.

When parents cannot reach agreement or one parent fails to protect children or prioritise their needs, the Court will accept an application and can make different types of Orders. The available Orders are:

  • A Child Arrangement Order – to determine where the child will live and which parent will care for them (previously known as a Residence Order) and how often the child will visit or stay with the other parent (previously known as a Contact Order).
  • A Prohibited Steps Order – to prevent particular decisions or actions from taking place which might be harmful to a child. 
  • A Specific Issue Order – to enforce particular decisions or actions, which are necessary to ensure the child’s best interests are met.

Our family law team can advise on all aspects of parental responsibility and any issues or difficulties between parents about parenting decisions. These can include issues over schooling, religion and children's health. Our aim is to deal with all matters in a sensitive and pragmatic way to achieve the best outcome with the least upset to all concerned.

Our family law team can also offer advice and assistance in relation to financial claims for your children. Child maintenance is usually dealt with either by a private agreement between parents or through the Child Maintenance Service (formally Child Support Agency). In some cases other claims can be made to the Court for additional financial provision, including lump sum payments, school fees and the provision of property.