Child Arrangement Order

If you cannot live with the other parent of your child, you will probably need to work out how you are going to manage time and money. The best solution is to talk to each other and decide what is best for the children. The next best is to get some help to work out a "parenting plan" There are good resources on the internet to help you think through all the issues. For example the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (usually shortened to CAFCASS) has a lot of useful information such as Help with parenting together after separation

One particular way of arriving at your parenting plan is to use a mediator who can help you talk and listen to each other. One of several umbrella organisations for mediators is the Family Mediation Council – see Find Local Mediator North London

If you cannot sort things out face to face then we can help you negotiate. It is sometimes helpful to understand what your legal rights and the children's are, to strengthen you in negotiation, and letters (including emails) or phone calls from or between solicitors can help to cool things down.

If we think that there absolutely is no other way forward then we will advise you to ask the court to decide on arrangements, and that is when a Child Arrangement Order may come into place, covering who a child should live with and how much time a child should spend with each parent (and occasionally other family members). The court may require you to attend a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting, in which case you would go "back two steps" but perhaps it will help take you fellow parent "three steps forward" if they have been being unreasonable.

The court process consists of at least one more attempt to resolve your differences by discussion with the supervision of the Judge at court and the support of CAFCASS, then if need be CAFCASS may be asked to write a report for the Judge and you will be asked to file statements setting out your point of view. At the end a Judge can listen to each party and impose arrangements.

The court cannot however ordinarily make orders about money to be paid by one parent to the other to cover the cost of looking after the child. That is dealt with by the Child Maintenance Service. Like the courts the CMS will do everything to persuade you to agree between you. There are clear guidelines with an on-line calculator available.

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Our Family Law Clinic Kicking Off This Month

Our weekly Family Law Clinic kicks off tomorrow, 21 January. 

We have teamed up with consultant solicitor Penny Mackinder, who has practised in Nottingham for many years and more recently around the London area, to offer a fixed price Family Law Clinic on a non-appointment basis. The service will offer one hour's advice for a modest fixed fee of £75.00 inclusive of VAT (£62.50 + VAT £12.50) although to make it viable we are going to insist that the fee is paid in advance of the session on the day. We will also to see valid identification and verification of address at the time.