Child Contact and Residence

Child contact and Residence

Over a million children don’t have contact with one parent after a marriage or relationship breakdown. This can be very distressing and frustrating to deal with, for the parent and the children. We are highly experienced at dealing with child contact, residence and all other children disputes or agreements. Once a relationship or marriage has broken down, there is often a lack of trust and heightened emotions which prevents the other parent behaving reasonably. It is important to safeguard yourself and your children as a first priority. We will ensure that you receive regular updates as the case progresses and if there is a more costly way to achieve a settlement outside court.

We can help you to maintain contact with your children after a family breakdown, or ensure that your children continue living with you in the family home. We understand that it is common for bitter ex-partners to use children as leverage in relationship breakdowns. False allegations to police can be harmful in children proceedings, and it is important to have the right representation supporting you, especially if you have been reported to the police.

What is a child arrangements order?

A child arrangements order can be made by the court to formalize any of the following arrangements for a child:

  • living arrangements
  • when and how often the child will spend time with or have “contact” with any person

There are different types of “contact” which include overnight contact, unsupervised face-to-face contact, supervised contact in a contact center and contact through letters or cards.

An order can be made for a child to live with only one parent, or the child can share time between both parents. If the parents cannot agree, the court will make a decision based on what will be in the child’s best interests.

A child arrangements order about living arrangements will usually end when the child is 18. An order about contact usually lasts until the child is 16.

What is the court procedure?

If you cannot agree about living arrangements or how much contact you have with the children, we can apply to the court for an order. Attending a mediation appointment on your own is compulsory before applying to court unless you fall under one of the exemptions.

The court will list a hearing called an “FHDRA” once we have submitted your application. There is an independent body called “CAFCASS” who will assist the court in deciding how issues in dispute should be resolved, by preparing reports about the family background. The court will usually ask each party to provide a statement setting out what you want.

The court may list further hearings to hear evidence from the parties, CAFCASS, and any other necessary experts before making a final decision. The court will also consider a number of factors, including:

  • the wishes and feelings of the child
  • the child’s physical, emotional and educational needs
  • the likely effect on the child if circumstances changed as a result of the court’s decision
  • the child’s age, sex, background and any other characteristics that will be relevant to the court’s decision
  • any harm the child has suffered or may be at risk of suffering
  • the capability of the child’s parents (or other relevant people) in meeting the child’s needs

We will explain how this checklist may be applicable in your circumstances and provide you with all the necessary support to achieve the best possible outcome.

Why Adam Bernard Solicitors?

  • Our family department has numerous years of experience in handling matters related to child disputes and arrangement orders.
  • Our experience has ensured that we have developed a sensitive approach to handling such cases that ensures your needs are at the forefront of our considerations and you feel supported throughout the whole process.
  • The successes of numerous clients that we have ensured achieve the results they desire, evidenced through our client testimonies, shows our ability in navigating this area of law.
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