When a couple with children divorce or separate, one of the most important issues that will need to be resolved is where the children will live. While most parents will try to resolve these issues with a voluntary agreement between them, it is sometimes necessary to apply to a court for a Child Arrangements Order specifying where the children will live. This is sometimes referred to as a ‘live with’ order.
Whether you are looking to make a voluntary agreement with your former partner or need help applying to a court for a Child Arrangements Order, having expert legal support and guidance is strongly recommended.
Our family law solicitors have extensive experience helping individuals and families to navigate these complex issues. No matter how difficult your circumstances, we can help you to find the right way to ensure your rights as a parent and your children’s best interests are considered and respected.
If you’re simply looking for more information at this stage, please feel free to Ask us a Question and one of our solicitors will reply promptly by email.
How do Child Arrangements Orders work?
A Child Arrangements Order to decide where a child will live will often be expressed as ‘the child shall live with mother’ or ‘the child shall live with father’. The concept is that the child has one main home with one or other of the parents. Orders that a child shall live solely with one parent are now less common, although they are still made if it meets the child's best interests.
To reflect modern parenting, it is now commonplace for a court to order that a child shall live with both parents - called shared care arrangements. The concept is that the child has two main homes. Such orders specify the pattern of care for a child and when they shall live with each parent. Such orders do not however mean that the child shall and must spend an equal amount of time with each parent; rather, a general sharing of time.
Over recent years there has been a shift in the reported cases that increasingly favours the making of shared care orders. It is often thought to be in the best interests of the child to recognise the equal importance of both parents.
Generally speaking, the family court now has a very positive view of fathers spending significant periods of time with their children.
Sometimes people other than the child’s natural parents will wish to make an application to the court for the child to live with them; they may do so if the Court gives them permission.
An application for a 'live with' Order or a shared care order clearly is a major event in a family's life; it is essential to get advice at any early stage. Sometimes that advice will be to continue to ‘build the case’ before making the application itself.
Some couples agree an arrangement whereby the children spend about half their time in each household: usually half a week at a time or on a ‘week on / week off’ basis. The best term for this is ‘shared care’ and it usually pre-supposes a good level of co-operation.
Our expertise in Children Act Proceedings
Divorce and family law are our main areas of specialisation, with our solicitors having supported families in these vital areas since 1992. We have a strong track record of helping our clients to get the right outcome from themselves and their loved ones, both in and out of court.
As a local firm, we offer a convenient service and the personal attention you deserve, backed by exceptional legal expertise and experience. This means we can offer you the highest quality legal advice and representation without the fees of a large City law firm.
Our family law team consists of Oliver Early, who has particular expertise in disputes over children and the financial aspects of divorce, and Richard Devereux, the firm’s founder, who has three decades of family law experience and is a member of Resolution, a network of family lawyers committed to non-confrontational family dispute resolution.
Get in touch with our family law solicitors in Shirehampton & Westbury-on-Trym
To speak to our family lawyers in Westbury-on-Trym and Shirehampton about ‘live with’ orders or any other legal matters involving children, please call 0117 959 3344 or contact your local Devereux & Co office.