Legal Guide

How Can Family Solicitors Help You Secure a Child Arrangement Order

When parents no longer wish to be tied to one another, the law protects the child of that marriage through rules that serve his best interest. Instead of determining which parent the child deserves to stay with, these rules help set an arrangement that would allow the latter to spend ample time with both parents. Since children often suffer the most when parents separate, these rules aim to lessen the stress and burden on them.

It is the court and family solicitors’ job to serve the child’s best interest by approving and negotiating visitation terms that can foster a close, good, and loving relationship. with both parents. However, before any arrangement can pass as actionable, the parents need to support and agree on these terms. 

Child arrangement orders are approved arrangement plans reached by both parents, detailing their collective schedules and commitments concerning their child. Specifically, the approved plan looks like a yearly calendar wherein parents plot the dates they’ll spend with their kids. The key to a less stressful and smooth child arrangement is by agreeing on possible terms in advance. 

What are the different arrangements both parties can come up with?

Both parties can agree on which parent the child should live mostly with. They could also come up with a shared arrangement plan wherein the child lives with both of them. Arrangements on patterns of contact and time spent with every parent vary greatly. 

Both parties can suggest that the child spends most of his time with one parent and gets to stay with another. It could be that he spends one night per week with his father while he lives most of the time with his mother. It’s also possible that parents agree that the child stays with the father on regular days, but both parents share custody during holidays. 

For example, the father doesn’t have a suitable place to raise a child, the parents could agree on practicable visit offers as an alternative to the child arrangement plan. Supervised time can also be decided by the court when there are higher conflict levels. Where direct contact is not permitted, the parties can even agree on other means of keeping in touch, like emails, telephone calls, gifts, postcards, or letters. 

Since child arrangement orders are court orders, failure to comply with any or all of the stipulations therein could result in contempt of court; an offense that leads to severe repercussions. 

What are your options in reaching an agreement? 

Parents have many options when they’re dealing with parenting issues. One of these is through family mediation. Here, you need to work with a family mediator who should remain impartial as he works with both sides in agreeing on an existing parenting plan. If you want to have your child legally represented through the process, you can also call for a Child Inclusive Mediation (CIM). 

Parents can also complete the arrangement plan through a four-way negotiation, with both parents and their respective solicitors sitting next to them. Arbitration could also be an option, wherein the parties call for an arbitrator to get involved and rule on the case. The said ruling shall be binding and enforceable between both parties. If all else fails, the parties can also go to court and ask the judge to rule on their child arrangement applications. 

If you’re a parent and you’re going through this kind of battle, facing the other party could be hurtful and exhausting. Going to court and fighting the case head-on can also be traumatizing to the children involved. It’s better to work with a solicitor to save you and your kids from this burden. Your solicitor can act as your legal representative as he works with the other party’s solicitor to reach an agreement. 

How else can a family solicitor help you in securing a child arrangement order?

The family solicitor you’re working with will act as your legal representative during the child arrangement plan’s ‘drafting phase’ until you get the order approved by the court. As your legal representative, he will act in your best interest. Instead of facing your ex-spouse or his legal representative, your solicitor will be the one to meet with either or both of them. Your solicitor will also carry on your wishes and relay the other party’s demands until you both reach an agreement. 

As soon as the agreement is reached, the plan shall be submitted to the court to issue a consent order or child arrangement order.  Your solicitor will be with you every step of the way, significantly lessening the burden brought by the proceeding. 

How long will it take before an order is released?

The duration of the application process will largely depend on how fast or slow you can come to an agreement. As soon as the application for a child arrangement order is made, the court will immediately schedule directions with both parties. The presiding Magistrate or Judge will determine what the parties can and cannot agree on and whether their child is at risk. The said Judge would also encourage both parties to agree. 

As soon as the parties reach an agreement, the process ends. However, if they couldn’t find common ground, more mediations will have to be attended. The parents can also be asked to participate in a Separated Parents Information Programme. With this, the much-coveted child arrangement order might only be reached after several months. 

Whether you’re the husband or wife, you don’t have to go through the process alone. In the same vein, your child also deserves the best arrangement plan that will promote his best interest. However, this doesn’t mean that you have to clash and meet with your ex-spouse all the time. You can air your side to your duly-appointed legal representative and let him deal and work with the other party. With the help of a reliable and seasoned solicitor, getting a child arrangement order will be easier and less painful. 

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