Making arrangements for your children following a separation or divorce can be an emotionally charged and difficult time.

After separation, parents may disagree on what is best for their children. Disputes about children can take many forms: who will they live with, when will they see each parent, how should holidays and special occasions be divided, how should big decisions be taken, and more.

Whilst making these decisions it is easy to lose sight of what is important here and that is the child’s best interests, so any decisions made should be for the child’s best interests.

A lot of parents are concerned that a dispute regarding child arrangements automatically means the Court will have to be involved. However, our team will be able to advise you on other options such as negotiation to try and reach an agreement without the need for the Court involvement.

In the event that an agreement cannot be reached, our team can assist in advising and applying for a Child Arrangements Order.

A child arrangement order is an order that specifies where a child should live and/or the amount of time they should spend with another named person, such as a parent or other relative. The arrangements set out in the order will be based on the circumstances of the individual child’s best interests and family situation and so there is no “one size fits all”.

Anyone with parental responsibility can apply for a child arrangement order. Any Child Arrangements Orders made will apply until the child turns 16 years old. This will be the case unless the court is satisfied there are exceptional circumstances for the Order to last until 18 years of age.

A child arrangements order sets out who the child should live with and/or spend time with. However, there are two other types of order the Court can make which sometimes get confused with a child arrangements order. These are a prohibited steps order and specific issue order.

A prohibited steps order is applied for when one parent objects to something that the other parent is doing concerning their child. It can cover things like education, medical treatment and change of name.

The other type of order is a specific issue order, the Courts can consider a Specific Issue Order if parents are unable to agree on a specific aspect of their child’s upbringing. This could include decisions around taking a child abroad or the medical treatment of a child.

We can help

The whole process can become a legal minefield, we strongly advise you talk to a Solicitor for help and guidance when making these decisions and ensuring you have an Order in place that is right for your situation.

To find out more get in touch with the Family & Children team at Ringrose Law. Call your local Ringrose Law Office or email


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