Making arrangements for children after a divorce or separation

After a breakup, some of the most difficult choices couples must make concern the living circumstances of their children. Who and where will they reside? How will both parents have sufficient presence and interaction in their children’s lives? Often, the parent leaving the family home is concerned about being sufficiently engaged in their children’s choices. Solent Family Mediation Portsmouth 

So, how can you reach mutually satisfactory arrangements? And how long will it take, and how much will it cost?

Do I need to get a court-issued Child Arrangements Order?

Generally speaking, a Child Arrangements Order is not required unless there is parental dispute, one parent is not complying with negotiations, or one parent vehemently disagrees with the proposed arrangements and no compromise can be reached.

Disagreements between parents may arise if one parent feels they do not see their children as often as they would want, if there are worries about the care their children get from one parent, or if the children themselves have reservations over their time with one parent.

How do we decide on kid arrangements?

It is preferable for all parties involved if you and your ex-spouse can agree on child care arrangements without resorting to the legal system. However, this is often easier said than done when a relationship falls down due to poor communication. One of you may be concerned about your child’s safety or wellbeing.

The two parents may live far apart, making it difficult to schedule meetings. Or, you or the other parent may have new relationships, which may be tough for the child to accept. Or it might be because the youngsters feel uneasy with the upcoming procedures.

What if we cannot determine or reach an agreement among ourselves?

If you are unable to reach an agreement via direct discussion, family mediation is the best method to find a solution that works for everyone involved without the stress, tension, expense, and time associated with court action. Mediation may help you address your disagreements more quietly and honestly, without escalating into conflicts. You and your ex-spouse will each attend a separate Mediation Information & Assessment Meeting (MIAM) with your mediator to discuss the process and express their concerns. If both of you and the mediator believe that mediation is a viable option for resolving your issues, you will then participate in one or more joint mediation sessions to find a solution.

But what if we cannot reach an agreement even after mediation?

Despite our best efforts, mediation may not always result in an agreement between you and the other party. It is possible that one of the parents is unwilling to participate in mediation. Or, the parents’ opinions may be so divergent that it is difficult to reach a solution, even with the assistance of a family mediator.

If mediation does not result in a settlement, we will be able to provide a certificate stating that mediation is not an acceptable means of resolving your dispute, which you will need to file a lawsuit. Then, you must petition the court for a Child Arrangements Order to determine the best arrangements for your children.

You will likely require the assistance of a lawyer to draught and deliver your court application. Although this is not absolutely required, it is highly recommended since the family courts are a foreign setting for many individuals, who may feel frightened by the whole procedure. It is crucial to present your case in a professional manner in order to effectively argue why what you want is fair and, in the children’s, best interests.

Child Arrangement Orders do not happen swiftly. Before a final order is issued, it might take several months or even years of talks between attorneys, court hearings, interviews, and reports from other organisations.

What is covered by a Child Arrangements Order?

A Kid Arrangements Order simply outlines all the specifics of how you intend to care for your child after separation or divorce, including how much time they will spend with each parent and when – precisely as you would agree in mediation. However, the court, not the parents, makes the decision, which is legally obligatory on both of you. Therefore, even if you disagree with a portion of the court order, you must comply with it, or you might face severe repercussions if you violate it.

A Kid Arrangement Order is based on the court’s determination of what is best for the child, not necessarily on what each parent desires. They will consider the parents’ desires, but their first concern will be the child’s best interests. In reaching their judgement, the court will depend on on reports prepared by other agencies, most often. This is why it is highly advised to have your case prepared and presented by a family law expert attorney, so that the court can be persuaded that your recommendation is the best for your kid.

A Child Arrangements Order may be modified.

A Kid Arrangements Order is designed to be a long-term, permanent arrangement to serve the best interests of your child until they reach the age of 18. However, if there are changes in the child’s or parents’ circumstances – for instance, if one of the parents begins a new relationship – and these changes may influence what is in the child’s best interests, an application to modify or even form a new Child Arrangements Order may be submitted. However, the court will consider the age of the kid at the time of the application when determining if modifications are necessary. The closer your kid gets to the age of 18, the less probable it is that the court will see the need to modify or create a new order. Similarly, to the initial Child Arrangements Order, this procedure may be long and expensive.

How much does obtaining a Child Arrangements Order cost?

Although it is not required to hire a lawyer to assist your draught a Child Arrangements Order, it is highly advised so that your case may be presented in a manner that is most likely to convince the court that your proposal is in your child’s best interests. Self-representation court expenses amount to £250. Due to the extensive amount of effort needed in preparing and presenting your case, you may anticipate paying thousands of pounds for the services of an attorney. And, as was previously said, the procedure will take several months, potentially well over a year, due to court waiting lists, during which time your kid will grow up without specific plans and with all the uncertainty and instability that entails.


When a relationship ends, determining how your children will continue to have a positive connection with both parents may be an emotionally trying moment for everyone involved. Generally, the fastest, cheapest, and most gratifying conclusion occurs when the parents reach an agreement amongst themselves, rather than petitioning the court to make choices for them.

Mediation is a great and often effective option to obtaining a Child Arrangements Order when parents cannot reach an agreement. Mediation is an independent, unbiased process that may assist you in putting aside other disagreements and concentrating on the most essential problem at hand, which is how to do what is best for your children and allow them to continue to have both parents in their lives.