Child Arrangements

Making child arrangements

You can choose how to make arrangements for looking after your children if you separate from your partner.

You and your ex-partner can usually avoid going to court hearings if you agree on:

  • where the children will live
  • how much time they will spend with each parent
  • how you will financially support your children

You can use a legal advisor if you want to make your agreement legally binding.

You can agree on child maintenance at the same time or separately.

Parenting Plan

You can make a Parenting Plan either direct with your ex-partner with or without the help of a legal advisor or you can use a mediator. The Parenting Plan is a written plan worked out between parents after they separate, and it covers the practical issues of parenting.

The Plan can help clarify the arrangements you need to put in place to care for your children after separation, without having to go to court. It can help you in dealings with your children’s other parent or carer, and it asks parents to put the best interests of their children first. There are many benefits of making a Parenting Plan:

  • it will help everyone involved know what is expected of them
  • it acts as a valuable reference to go back to
  • it sets out practical decisions about the children, such as living arrangements, education, and health care.

If you do go to court in the future, it is likely that judges will expect you to have started a Parenting Plan.

If you cannot agree on everything

You can ask a court to decide anything you cannot agree after mediation or getting other help. You must show you have attended a meeting to see if mediation is right for you before applying to a court. You will not have to in certain cases, for example, if there has been domestic abuse or social services are involved. You will not usually get legal aid to help with court costs unless you are separating from an abusive partner.

Contact our Family Law Solicitors

If you would like to discuss your family situation with our family law solicitors, please get in touch with us on 020 8240 9018 or submit our enquiry form on our website.