Child Arrangement Solicitors in Bristol
Compassion is key when it comes to child arrangements involving you and your children
From the thousands of families we’ve helped to reach child agreements, there is very little we haven’t seen and already dealt with. Relationship breakdown is never pleasant and even more troubling and complicated if children are involved. Custody cases require considered, sensitive handling to ensure that the best outcome is achieved for the children.
Parenting through a divorce or separation is not easy. First, there is the emotional upset and then there is the matter of sorting out child arrangements. When children are caught in the middle, you need prudent advisors who can quickly assess your options, provide workable solutions and arm you with the tools you need to secure the best outcome.
Our child-centric approach never loses sight of the long-term interests of you and your children. Choosing Shakespeare Martineau as your child custody solicitors provides you with the best chance of securing the right outcome in the fastest possible time frame.
Wherever you are on your journey, our legal advisors can help. Call us today on 0330 024 0333 or use the button below to complete our contact form.
How Our Child Arrangement Experts in Bristol Can Help
Our expert child maintenance lawyers work with you to agree on how much you or your former spouse or partner should be paying for your children’s care going forward. We can also help if payments have halted.
Resolving differences: In and out of court
Settling differences out of court can be quicker and more cost effective. We help you to use alternative channels such as mediation, collaborative law and negotiation to reach a swift conclusion and a mutually-agreeable solution. If court action is unavoidable, our child custody solicitors have the skill, determination and know-how to steer you through court confrontations to reach the right long-term resolution. In practice, this could involve a specific issue order relating to your child’s education or a child arrangements order (these stipulate who your child will live and spend time with).
Relationship breakdown is never pleasant and even more troubling and complicated if children are involved. Custody cases require considered, sensitive handling to ensure that the best outcome is achieved for the children.
Divorce & Separation can be a daunting and very emotional time and worry and anxiety are only natural. There are many things to consider when divorcing including child arrangements and financial settlements, but our experienced, empathetic and highly-rated divorce solicitors are here to provide you with support and confidence.
Global families and complex child custody issues
Families increasingly have complex structures, in many cases involving webs of national and international connections. We’ve successfully made, and defended, court applications for permission to relocate children. We’re also an experienced hand to help you through difficult issues like child abduction, grandparents’ ‘rights’ and financial claims made on behalf of children or against the property you once shared with your ex-partner.
Child custody cases require considered, sensitive handling to ensure that the best outcome is achieved for the children – this is where our experts come in.
Child Arrangement Frequently Asked Questions
A Child Arrangement Order (CAO) is a legal document issued by a court in the United Kingdom that determines the living arrangements and contact with a child. It outlines who the child will live with, when they will see the other parent, and other important arrangements such as schooling and medical care.
A CAO can be applied for by either parent, a guardian, or any other person who has a significant interest in the child’s welfare. It is typically sought when parents are unable to agree on living arrangements for their child following a separation or divorce.
The court will consider the child’s welfare as its paramount consideration when making a decision about a CAO. It will also take into account any wishes and feelings expressed by the child, as well as any relevant factors such as the child’s age, health, and any risk of harm.
Once a CAO has been made, it is legally binding and must be followed by all parties involved. Failure to comply with the terms of a CAO can result in legal consequences, including fines and even imprisonment.
The length of time it takes to obtain a Child Arrangement Order (CAO) in the UK can vary depending on a number of factors, including the complexity of the case and the court’s caseload.
In general, it can take several months for a CAO to be granted, especially if the case is complex or there are disputes between the parties involved. It’s important to note that the court will prioritise the best interests of the child, so the process can take longer if the court needs to gather additional information or conduct assessments to determine what is in the child’s best interests.
If all parties involved can reach an agreement on the living arrangements and contact with the child, they can submit a consent order to the court, which can be granted relatively quickly, usually within a few weeks.
It’s important to seek legal advice if you are considering applying for a CAO, as a solicitor can guide you through the process and help ensure that your case is presented in the best possible way.
The child’s mother, father or anyone with parental responsibility can apply for a court order.
Other people, like grandparents, can apply for these court orders, but they’ll need to get permission from the courts first.
Violating the terms of a Child Arrangements Order (CAO) in the UK can have serious legal consequences. If a person fails to comply with the terms of a CAO, they may be held in contempt of court, which can result in fines or even imprisonment.
In addition to legal consequences, violating a CAO can also harm the relationship between the non-compliant party and the child. If the court believes that a parent or other caregiver is not acting in the best interests of the child, they may take further legal action, including revisiting the CAO and potentially changing the living arrangements or contact arrangements.
It’s important to take a CAO seriously and follow the terms set out in the order. If circumstances change and the terms of the CAO are no longer feasible, it’s important to seek legal advice and apply to the court for a variation of the order, rather than simply ignoring it. By following the terms of the CAO, you can help ensure that the child’s needs are being met and avoid potentially serious legal consequences.
The duration of a Child Arrangements Order (CAO) in the UK is not fixed and can vary depending on the individual circumstances of the case.
In most cases, a CAO will remain in effect until the child reaches the age of 18, unless there are significant changes in the child’s circumstances or living arrangements. However, the court may set a specific end date for the CAO if it deems it necessary, for example, if the living arrangements are intended to be temporary.
It’s important to note that a CAO can be varied or discharged by the court if there is a significant change in the child’s circumstances or if the terms of the order are no longer appropriate. For example, if one parent wishes to relocate with the child, this could result in a variation of the CAO to reflect the new living arrangements and contact arrangements.
It’s also possible for a CAO to be discharged if the child’s circumstances have changed significantly, such as if the child is no longer in need of the court’s protection or if the child has reached the age of 18.
There are several benefits to using a local solicitor to obtain a Child Arrangements Order:
- Familiarity with local courts: A local solicitor is likely to be familiar with the local courts and judges, which can be advantageous when presenting your case. They will have experience in dealing with the specific requirements and procedures of the local courts, which can help to ensure that your case is presented in the best possible way.
- Personalised service: A local solicitor can provide a more personalised service, as they will be able to meet with you in person and discuss your case in detail. This can be particularly helpful if you have complex circumstances or if you have concerns about your case.
- Cost-effective: Using a local solicitor can be more cost-effective, as they will not have to travel far to attend court hearings or meetings with you. This can help to keep legal costs down, which is particularly important if you are on a tight budget.
- Availability: A local solicitor is likely to be more readily available to you, as they will not have to travel far to meet with you or attend court hearings. This can be particularly important if you need urgent legal advice or if you have concerns about your case.
Overall, using a local solicitor can be beneficial when obtaining a Child Arrangements Order, as they can provide a personalised service, have familiarity with local courts, be cost-effective, and be more readily available to you.
The court will make a decision about what the child’s arrangements should be by applying the ‘welfare’ checklist, which includes:
- The ascertainable wishes and feelings of the child concerned (depending on the child’s age and understanding)
- The child’s physical, emotional and educational needs
The likely effect on the child of any change in circumstances
- The age, sex, background and any characteristics of the child that the court considers relevant any harm that the child has suffered, or is at risk of suffering
- How capable each of the child’s parents, and any other person in relation to whom the court considers the question to be relevant, is of meeting the child’s needs
- The range of powers available to the court under in the proceedings in question.
It is important to note that the child’s welfare is always the court’s paramount consideration when making these decisions.
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Family & Divorce
Experiencing divorce or separation can be an overwhelming and emotional journey, often accompanied by worry and anxiety. It is important to consider various factors such as child arrangements and financial settlements during this process. We can assist you every step of the way towards moving forward with your life.
We appreciate it can be difficult to envisage a time when you’re not there to provide for your family and preparing a will can be the last thing on your mind. Planning early, however, gives you and your family peace of mind so you can enjoy your time together in the present. With our expert guidance, clients find the process of preparing a will much less stressful than they may anticipate.
Wherever you are on your journey, our specialists are here to answer any questions you might have
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