Child Arrangements Orders

The Government felt that parents made applications for residence and contact orders because the status of having such an order was more important than there was a real dispute about the substance of the matter. In order to prevent unnecessary applications from 22 April 2014 residence and contact orders were abolished and replaced by “child arrangements orders”. These are defined as orders:

“(a) with whom a child is to live, spend time or otherwise have contact, and

(b) when a child is to live, spend time or otherwise have contact with any person;”

Thus in fact there are two types of child arrangements orders, namely those providing

  1. with whom a child is to live and when and
  2. with whom, when and how a child is to spend time or otherwise have contact with someone.

These do not look too dissimilar to residence and contact orders respectively and indeed the consequential amendments in legislation replace “residence order” with “an order providing with whom the child is to live or when the child is to live with any person” and “contact order” with “an order providing with whom the child is to spend time or otherwise have contact” (or variations of this).

Since in our experience lawyers and judges still talk about “primary carers”, it seems that this legislative change has done little but to make the Children Act 1989 unintelligible to all but lawyers.

As the considerations for the court for making orders about where a child should live and what time the child should spend with a parent are different from each other, we have set out the law on different pages about

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10 February 2015 by Andrea Woelke