What is a Child Arrangement Order?
Who can apply for a Child Arrangement Order?
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How is a Child Arrangement Order enforced?
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Until the child is 16, or 18 in exceptional circumstances unless otherwise ordered by the Court. However, if you move back in with your ex-partner, the Order will cease after a period of 6 months of your living together.
If the Court has granted a Child Arrangement Order or Contact Order allowing you contact with your child, and you are being refused access to your child, this could be deemed in breach of the Contact Order. If that is the case, we advise that you apply to the Family Court to enforce the terms of the Order.
If you are successful, your ex-partner could face a fine or other penalty. We can consider the terms of the Contact Order in detail and provide advice based on your individual circumstances as to what steps you should take.
If a Child Arrangement Order is in force and you’re named as a person the child spends time or otherwise has contact with, you can’t take them abroad without the consent of the person with whom the child currently lives. If you can’t get this, you’ll need to make an application to the Court, which should be marked as urgent should there be a time restriction.
If you’re named in a Child Arrangement Order as a person the child lives with, you can take your children abroad for up to a month without anyone else’s consent. For longer periods, you need the consent of each holder of Parental Responsibility for the children, or a Court Order which grants the Court’s consent through a Specific Issue Order.
When a Child Arrangement Order is in force, you cannot change a child’s name without the agreement of each person who has Parental Responsibility for the child, or failing this, the Court’s consent through a Specific Issue Order.
Previously, people would apply for a Residence Order for the child to live with them, and a Contact Order if they sought to have contact with the child. However, they’re now both referred to as Child Arrangement Orders, which cover who the child should live with and what contact they should have.
The same application will be made for the child to live with you and for contact, i.e. a Child Arrangement Order for the child to live with you, or a Child Arrangement Order to have contact with the child. However, what will differ is the information inputted into the application regarding what you seek from the Court. When the Child Arrangement Order states the child lives with both parents (although this will be in different places at different times), it’s comparable to the old Shared Residence Order (as before, the times spent at each parent’s homes can be different).
The same features of the resident parent and non-resident parent exist – i.e. a parent the child lives with (the resident parent) can take children abroad for up to a month without the non-resident parent’s or Court’s consent, while the non-resident parent (parent who the child spends time with or otherwise has contact with) cannot.
Existing Residence and Contact Orders will be treated as Child Arrangement Orders. Bear in mind that if you were a resident parent (including a parent with shared residence), you’ll be considered a person with whom the child lives (with the same status/rights that you had as a resident parent).
However, if you had a Contact Order, you’ll be considered a person with whom the child spends time or otherwise has contact with (again, with the same status/rights as existed before the new Order was introduced).