Children Matters

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Children Matters

Child Arrangement Order

We understand the harmful impact such disputes have on you and your family. We shall aim to try to negotiate and agree on matters without the need for you to spend money on expensive Court proceedings. The Child Arrangement Order can assist with matters such as: who the children live with, who they spend time with or otherwise have contact with. These orders normally last until the children are aged 16 (or 18 in exceptional circumstances).

These orders can be applied by:
  • If you have lived with the child for at least 3 years in the last 5 years.
  • The parties to the marriage where the children are a party to the family.
  • If you have the consent of all those who have Parental Responsibility (See: the Parental Responsibility section below).
  • If there is a Child Arrangement Order in place and you have the consent of all the people, the children live with.
  • If the children are in care you can make an application if the Local Authority consent.


These orders can be applied:

1.   If you have lived with the child for at least three years in the last five years;
2.   The parties to the marriage where the children are a party to the family;
3.   If you have the consent of all those who have Parental Responsibility (See: Parental Responsibility section);
4.   If there is a Child Arrangement Order in place and you have the consent of all the people the children live with;
5.   If the children are in care, you can make an application if the Local Authority consent.

If you do not fall into the above categories, please do not worry as this does not automatically prevent you from making such an application. We would consider the circumstances of your case and where appropriate, we would prepare a formal application seeking the Court’s permission for you to proceed with the application. The Court will consider factors such as the merits of your application, connection to the children and if any such application would cause the children harm.;

Child Arrangement Order
The types of orders a Court can make:

Residence Order (inc Shared Residence Order)

This is an Order that settles the issues in regards to who the children should live with.


Prohibited Steps Order

This is an Order that prevents (‘prohibits’) the other parent from making a certain decision regarding the children’s upbringing. This would mean that you would be prohibiting 

Contact Order

This is an Order that settles the issues in regards to who the children shall have contact with and what other types of contact are to take place (i.e. phone calls).


Specific Issues Order

This is an Order that considers disagreements regarding specific issues about the children’s upbringing. In example, where the children go to school, what religion they practice or whether they should have a specific medical procedure

Parental Responsibility Order

If you hold parental responsibility you have “all the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which by law a parent of a child has in relation to the child and his property”. These types of applications commonly arise for unmarried fathers who want to share the parental responsibility held by the mother. 

Emergency Orders

We understand that sometimes emergency issues can arise, and you need immediate support and assistance. We are on hand to assist you and advise that you do not delay contacting our firm if such circumstances arise. 
Emergency Orders

Parental Responsibility ('PR')

These types of applications commonly arise for unmarried fathers who want to share the parental responsibility held by the mother. The PR can be acquired through:
  • Entering into a PR Agreement with the child’s mother - We can draft this for you and have it registered.
  • We can obtain a Child Arrangement Order from the Court which can also have the effect of determining who the children are to live and have contact with.
  • We can obtain a Parental Responsibility Order.
  • Jointly registering yourself on the birth certificate with the mother.
We can assist you by tailoring our services to your circumstances and then acting accordingly.
The issue of PR is a growing concern for unmarried fathers. We are an on-hand to assist you to get the same rights as mother
Parental Responsibility ('PR')

Rights for Grandparents

We appreciate the substantial input grandparents can have on the welfare of children. The positive influences that they can provide are considered second to none by many. If you are having trouble with achieving contact with your grandchildren, feel free to contact us and upon considering your circumstances we can our services to best assist you. We appreciate that there are no automatic rights for you to see grandchildren but do not stress as we can prepare an application to the Court informing the Court that contact should proceed as it is in the best interests of the children to spend time with their extended family.  The Court would consider factors such as the impact on the children, circumstances of the application and the connection to the children.
Rights for Grandparents

Call now for our experts to help you

We are experienced in helping clients to deal with disputes regarding children.
We do NOT charge you to initially discuss your matter and then we can discuss how we can assist you and your family.
We tailor our services to your matter by advising and guiding you to try an achieve the outcome you seek and an outcome that is in the best interest of your child(ren).
There is no harm in being prepared for the future. Pick up the telephone and see how we can help you.
0161 250 7771
07546 785 771
(24 hour helpline)

Expert Legal Assistance

The breakdown of a relationship is difficult. The situation can often be made worse when the parties are arguing regarding child arrangement matters. We consider it is vital for your children to have a structured approach to child arrangements. This should help to reduce the risk of harm they face. There are numerous aspects that we can assist with, including but not limited to: contact; residency; relocation, grandparents rights, name changes, relocation and parental responsibility. Please contact us to explain your circumstances and we can establish how we can assist you.
We look forward to hearing from you.
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Child arrangement orders you can depend on

Obtaining a child custody court order can be an extremely overwhelming experience, full of conflict. We’ll help to remove some of the complication and offer our complete support – all in a bid to minimise stress during what is a naturally difficult situation.

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Feel more at ease during the child arrangements process

Going through a relationship breakdown is difficult enough without facing disagreements around a child’s upbringing. Navigating the difficult maze of litigation can make the whole process even tougher, ultimately causing yet more emotional turbulence and uncertainty for your child. That’s why it’s best to seek the help of a child arrangements solicitor.

We’ll take the burden away – negotiating on your behalf as well as dealing with the necessary paperwork. We’ll always try to avoid going to court too, as this can be both financially and mentally draining. It’s for this reason that so many of our clients have managed to settle their situation outside of the courtroom.

We understand that all you want to do is get on with your life and do what’s right for your child. Optimal Solicitors will work in your interests and achieve the best outcome.

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A delay in getting legal aid will only serve to cause you further stress. So start making the steps towards putting an end to the dispute. Begin the conversation today, and with our help, you can start to move on from this situation.

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Professional child arrangement solicitors you can trust

Disputes around arrangement orders are incredibly tricky to navigate. We’ll help ease the process, drawing on our years of experience and expertise in this area of family law

The types of cases we’ve dealt with include:

  • Child arrangement orders – These set out who a child lives and spends time with, as well as the amount of time spent with each parent. We’ll help resolve more particular matters too, like where a child goes to school (a ‘specific issue order’), or prevent a parent taking a disputed action (a ‘prohibited steps order’).
  • International issues – If a child is removed from the jurisdiction without consent, then it’s classed as child abduction and an offence. There can be a real clash of differences as to where to bring up a child, so we’ll make sure you can present the best case to the family court.
  • Urgent or emergency court applications – For situations where you need instant support, we can help you establish if emergency action is needed and guide you through it too. While urgent cases are very rare, the court may have to grant either an urgent or emergency order after only hearing from one parent. If you’ve been served with one of these orders, we can also assist you here.

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Why Optimal Solicitors 

It’s not easy for anyone to sort out a dispute with their ex-partner, especially when children are involved. So we’ll take the hassle away, representing you in discussions and working hard to resolve the situation.

Your needs will be considered at every step of the process. This includes if you’d prefer to get legal advice in your native language, or want any supplementary support from our network of specialists (including rehabilitation experts and therapists).


Child arrangements can cause a lot of anxiety and stress. We aim to make the process as easy for you as possible by offering a free initial consultation. You won’t have to pay anything to understand your basic legal rights.
You can have faith that we’ll help you gain the best outcome as we’ve supported countless others. And if you need assistance with any other areas of family law, you can turn to us for these too – from divorce [LINK: Divorce] to child custody [LINK: Child Custody].
We believe that legal advice should be convenient. If you’d like us to travel to you, we’d be happy to. Or we can speak about your case via the phone, video call, or email – whatever suits you. An interpreter can be provided if needed as well.


A child arrangements solicitor can provide you with both advice and advocacy. They can help put together any relevant legal documentation and file these to the court, as well as provide specialist advice and prepare evidence for any hearings.

It’s a prerequisite to first go to a mediation before applying for a child arrangement order. Here, an alternate resolution is sought. If no agreement is reached at a mediation, then you can apply for a court order.

It’s important to note that, in some situations, a mediation wouldn’t be appropriate (for example, in domestic abuse cases). In instances like these, you may not need to attend.

These last until the child has reached the age of 16. However, there are situations where they won’t expire until they’re aged 18. If you reunite with your ex-partner and no longer need the child arrangement order, then it’ll expire after you’ve been living together for six months.
It can sometimes take 6-12 months to achieve a final child arrangement order, although they can vary. Generally, it will be about 6-8 weeks from you attending a preliminary court hearing. Plus, if the Cafcass need to produce a report, this usually takes an additional 12 weeks.
The Cafcass (Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service) work with the court to establish the best outcome for the child. When you apply to the court, this form is sent to Cafcass who then carry out safeguarding checks. This will be compiled into a letter prior to the first court hearing, where a CAFCASS officer will be present. They will only provide further assistance if necessary, such as if they need to be appointed as a guardian.

Put your child’s interests first with Optimal Solicitors

We’ll do what it takes to get the very best outcome for you and your child. Speak to us today for a free consultation, and discover exactly how we can support your specific requirements.

0161 250 7771

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