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Child Arrangement Orders

Children Act 1989 Proceedings

What are child arrangement orders?

Child arrangement orders have replaced what were previously known as ‘residence’ or ‘contact’ orders. A child arrangements order will set out where your child or children live and when and how they spend time with each parent.

Specific issue order
These types of orders are used to determine specific issues in your child’s upbringing, for example where they go to school, whether they are or are not brought up in a particular religion, or dietary or health issues.

Prohibited steps order
These orders prohibit a particular course of action in relation to a child. For example, a prohibited steps order might prevent a parent from obstructing a holiday abroad or conversely might prevent a parent from taking a child on holiday abroad.


Who can apply for a child arrangement order?

Parents, guardians or anyone with parental responsibility for a child apply can for a child arrangements; specific issue; or prohibited steps order. There are other potential applicants but these are the most common.

Who should be named as the respondent in your application?
Every person who has parental responsibility for the child should be named as a respondent.

How do you know whether someone has parental responsibility?
A mother automatically has parental responsibility for her child from birth. A father will have parental responsibility if he is married to the mother.

If the mother and father are unmarried the father will only have parental responsibility if he is named on the child’s birth certificate. This applies from 1 December 2003.

For children born or births registered before 1 December 2003 an unmarried father will only gain parental responsibility through a residence order, parental responsibility agreement or parental responsibility order.

Same-sex parents who are civil partners will both have parental responsibility. Unmarried same-sex parents will need to either enter into a parental responsibility agreement and apply for an order or enter into an agreement or jointly register the birth and enter into a civil partnership.

Other individuals may also have parental responsibility for a child. This includes anyone who is named as a person with whom a child is to live in a child arrangements order.


Contact our family law team

We provide advice on all private children’s law matters including court applications for child arrangements orders, specific issue and prohibited steps orders, leave to remove applications and international child abduction.

If you would like to receive any further advice, please contact one of the family law team.

Key contacts

Irpreet Kohli

Irpreet Kohli

0345 126 3776

Fiona Wilson

0345 030 5643

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