Child Arrangement Solicitor: Our Network


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What is a Child Arrangement Solicitor? 

Child arrangement solicitors are legal professionals specialising in family law, particularly in issues concerning where a child will live, and how and when they will spend time with both parents after a separation or divorce.

Under the law in England and Wales, these solicitors play a critical role in advising and representing parents or guardians in making arrangements for their children.

They help to navigate the complexities of family court procedures, ensuring that the child’s best interests are at the forefront of any decisions made.

Seeking legal advice from a child arrangement solicitor is essential for understanding your rights and responsibilities and for achieving a resolution that supports the well-being of the child involved.

ARC Costs maintain a panel of family law solicitors who can assist in your child arrangement case. We can also assist in the recovery and negotiation of legal costs for the child arrangement solicitor on conclusion of a case.


Child Arrangement Disputes 

Child arrangement disputes are among the most sensitive issues faced by families undergoing separation or divorce.

These disputes can deeply affect the well-being of the children involved, making it essential to handle them with care and legal expertise.

In the UK, solicitors specialising in child arrangement matters play a crucial role in guiding parents through the complex legal landscape, ensuring that the arrangements made are in the child’s best interests.

Whether it’s deciding who the child will live with, how much time they’ll spend with each parent, or resolving specific issues, professional legal advice is invaluable.


Mediation Information Assessment Meeting (MIAM) 

In 2014, it became a legal requirement for all Applicants to consider mediation and to attend a MIAM meeting. This meeting is arranged to help parties understand how mediation works and whether it would be suitable in their situation.

The Applicant may opt for a Standard MIAM or a Fast Track MIAM. When the Applicant completed the meeting, the mediator will then sign the C100 form on page 9 if mediation is not suitable in the situation, or if mediation was attempted but was not successful.

It is important to note that Judges often encourage mediation, and although it is not compulsory, the refusal of one party to mediate may be taken into consideration when making orders for costs.

Understanding Child Arrangement Orders

Child arrangement orders are legal decrees issued by the family court to resolve disputes regarding the upbringing of children following a parental separation or divorce.

These court orders can specify who the child will live with, when and how the child will have contact with each parent, and other arrangements concerning the child’s upbringing.

In England and Wales, the terms “contact orders” and “residence orders” have been replaced by “child arrangement orders,” which aim to encourage parents to focus more on the child’s needs rather than their rights.

Applying for a child arrangement order is a step taken when parents cannot reach an agreement through mediation or other means.

The court’s primary consideration in these applications is the child’s best interests, including their safety, emotional well-being, and the importance of maintaining relationships with both parents. However, if there’s a risk of harm to the child, the court may decide to limit or prevent contact with a parent.

The Role of a Child Arrangement Solicitor

A child arrangement solicitor will assist parents and guardians in understanding their rights and responsibilities under the law, including parental responsibility. They will also help them to navigate the legal process to apply to the Court for a child arrangement order or respond to one.

Solicitors can provide crucial legal advice on the likelihood of a court granting an application, the evidence needed to support a case, and the best strategies for presenting one’s case in court.

They also play a significant role in drafting legal documents, representing clients in negotiations and court proceedings, and ensuring that any court orders are enforceable and reflect the child’s best interests.

Applying for a Child Arrangement Order

When disputes arise over the care and contact of a child, the involved parties are encouraged to first attempt to reach an agreement outside of court. This is often facilitated through mediation, where a neutral third party helps parents discuss and negotiate the terms of their child’s upbringing. Mediation aims to foster a cooperative environment, reducing the emotional strain on all parties, especially the child.

If mediation does not result in an agreement, or if the situation involves issues like risk of harm to the child, one may need to apply to the court for a child arrangement order.

The application process begins with Form C100, which is submitted to the family court. This form details the applicant’s relationship to the child, the nature of the order sought, and any allegations of harm or domestic violence.

The court will then consider the application. This process often involves a series of hearings and assessments to determine what arrangement serves the child’s best interests.

Throughout this process, the court’s paramount consideration is the welfare of the child, with specific attention to any risk of harm and the capability of each parent to meet the child’s needs.

Parental Responsibility

Parental responsibility under the law refers to the legal rights, duties, powers, and responsibilities a parent has towards their child. It includes making important decisions about the child’s upbringing, including their education, health care, and religious education.

Having parental responsibility is a key factor in applying for a child arrangement order. The court assesses whether individuals seeking the order have this responsibility and thus, the legal standing to be involved in deciding the child’s living arrangements and contact with parents.

In cases where parents are not married or in a civil partnership, the mother automatically has parental responsibility, whilst the father may need to acquire it through various means, such as being named on the birth certificate (for births registered from December 1, 2003, onwards), entering into a parental responsibility agreement, or obtaining a parental responsibility order from the court.

Court Considerations in Child Arrangement Cases

When the family court decides on a child arrangement order, they will follow the principle that the child’s welfare is of paramount importance.

The court employs a welfare checklist, considering factors such as the child’s physical, emotional, and educational needs; the likely effect of any change in circumstances; the child’s age, sex, background, and any characteristics deemed relevant; any harm the child has suffered or is at risk of suffering; and how capable each of the parents (or other relevant individuals) is of meeting the child’s needs.

The court also pays close attention to any evidence or allegations of harm to the child, including domestic abuse, to ensure that any arrangement minimises the risk of harm and promotes the child’s welfare.

The emphasis is on creating a safe and stable environment that supports the child’s development and well-being.


Specific Issue and Prohibited Steps Orders


In addition to general child arrangement orders, the family court can issue specific issue orders and prohibited steps orders, each serving a distinct purpose in safeguarding a child’s welfare and best interests.

Specific Issue Order: This order is used when parents or guardians cannot agree on a particular aspect of their child’s upbringing, such as which school they should attend, whether they should have a particular medical treatment, or even religious upbringing decisions. Through use of this type of application, the court is asked to make a decision on that specific matter, considering what is in the child’s best interests.

prohibited steps order: Conversely, a prohibited steps order restrains a parent from carrying out certain actions without the express permission of the court. This could include preventing a parent from taking the child abroad, moving them to a different part of the country, or making unilateral decisions about their education or health care. The primary aim is to prevent actions that might not be in the child’s best interests or could pose a risk of harm.

Both types of orders are powerful tools within family law, designed to address specific concerns and disputes regarding a child’s upbringing and welfare.

They underscore the court’s ability to intervene in targeted ways, ensuring decisions are made with a focus on the child’s safety, happiness, and overall well-being. 

Legal Costs in Child Arrangement Cases


The cost of a Court Application is £232; however, some Applicants may be entitled to a court fee remission.

As with all legal cases, applying for a child arrangement order is likely to result in additional legal costs such as solicitors fees and disbursements.

The rule of thumb in family law is that each party bears their own costs. In certain situations, such as in legal aid cases, and in circumstances involving unreasonable conduct of a party, an inter partes costs order may be made in favour of one or more parties on rare occasions.

In these circumstances, the Receiving Party will be required to submit a bill of costs to the Paying Party. The Paying Party can then negotiate those costs using points of dispute. Negotiation of costs should be undertaken using points of dispute and replies. If an agreement cannot be reached, a Detailed Assessment Hearing may be required.

Quite often, one of the parties involved in proceedings may be legally aided, and in these instances an Order will be made on conclusion for the legal aid costs to be assessed, which are payable centrally from the Legal Aid Agency, rather than any of the parties.

How can ARC Costs Assist?

If you require the assistance of a child arrangement solicitor, ARC Costs can introduce you to a solicitor in our network.

ARC Costs can assist in all legal costs matters, including costs child arrangement applications, irrespective of whether you are a legally aided party, or a paying/receiving party. If a costs order is made, you should seek the assistance of a costs specialist immediately.

We also regularly provide assistance to law firms in legal aid funded cases, ranging from fixed costs matters, to exc exceptional costs claims and Very High Costs Cases (VHCCs).

We are highly experienced Costs Draftsmen/Costs Lawyers and have been successful in recovering substantial amounts in legal fees for our clients.

We can be contacted via email at, or by telephone on 01204 397302. For more information on legal costs, please find out more about our speciality areas of expertise and our services on our legal costs page.

We may receive payments from third party solicitors on our panel to whom we may refer your claim. We will never charge you for any referrals made to our panel of third parties.


4 Bark Street East, Bolton, BL1 2BQ

01204 397302

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