In April this year the Children and Families Act 2014 came into force. It caught the media’s attention as it brought in a range of new measures including free school meals for Key Stage 1 pupils, smoking bans in cars and a number of family friendly employment measures. The Act introduced the single Family Court. The Leicester County Court will no longer be able to accept family work instead applications will be made to The Family Court at Leicester.
What does this mean for parents who are separating?
In relation to separating parents it also brought amendments to court procedures and the terms courts use in dealing with various issues affecting children. One of these included the introduction of Child Arrangements Orders.
So what is a Child Arrangements Order?
The familiar terms custody and access have been used for many years when describing where children live and when they see their parents but in fact these terms have not been used by the courts since the Children Act 1989 was implemented and which introduced the terms contact and residence.
The courts will no longer make Contact or Residence orders but instead will make a “child arrangement order”. A child arrangements order is defined as, “an order regulating the arrangements relating to …with whom a child is to live, spend time or otherwise have contact and when a child is to live, spend time or otherwise have contact with any person” The courts may still use the words residence and contact but the Children and Families Act also includes amendments to other statutes.
How will a Child Arrangements Order affect me?
If you are separating we hope you will be able to agree the practical arrangements as to where your children will live and when each of you will see them. Applications for these orders can also be made by grandparents wishing to see their grandchildren.
If you are unable to agree with your former spouse or partner they may seek an order from the court. Failure to abide by the terms of such an order can result in enforcement proceedings.
Where to get answers to your questions
If you have concerns regarding what is going to happen to your children on separation you have probably thought of some of the following questions. Where will the children live? When will I see the children? Will I see the children during the holidays? Will I see the children on Christmas Day? If you need answers to these questions contact James Belderbos who is here to help you. James has experience is assisting parents and grandparents in Leicestershire and Rutland in achieving resolution by agreement or in advising assisting and representing them at the Family Court at Leicester.