What is a Child Arrangements Order?
A Child Arrangements Order is an order that regulates arrangements which are related to when and with whom a child has to live, spend time or have contact.
In numerous cases, the difference between contact and residence remains the same, but now the new language reflects that the order in question will be a particular kind of child arrangements order.
The definitions of “residence” as well as “contact” that did away with the terms like “custody” and “access” have also now been replaced by a “child arrangements order.”
On 22 April 2014, the Child Arrangements Programme 2014 came into force. It has its application applies whenever there is a case of a dispute that is related to arrangements which concern children. It has been designed to keep in mind its purpose for assisting families to reach safe and focused child arrangements wherever it is possible outside the court setting. In such cases where it is not possible, the aim is to resolve a dispute in a manner that avoids any delay.
Any residence or contact order made before the date 22 April 2014 takes effect as a child arrangements order. So it is not required to go for a reapplication.
So, what has changed?
The recent changes to the law now imply that before making an application for a Child Arrangements Order, the intended applicant should attend a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM). Alternatively, they need to demonstrate a MIAM exemption. The aim of a MIAM is providing the applicant with information related to the application of mediation as an alternative process to resolve disputes without the need for any application towards court proceedings.
The main importance is laid more than ever before on the fact that parents should agree on arrangements for the children, and avoid the court process where it is all possible.
Who can apply for the order?
The child’s parent, guardian or anyone who has parental responsibility should apply without the court’s permission. Also, there are other circumstances in which a person is able to apply without the court’s permission. For all other people, like grandparents, the court’s permission is needed before an application is made.
For details on the process of making an application and the court procedure, people can also contact a Family Mediation service in Leeds. Alternatively, in case people would like exploring dispute resolution outside a court process via collaborative law or mediation, then they should contact qualified and experienced Family Mediation services in Leeds.