Child Arrangement Orders
Child Arrangement Orders & Custody Agreements
Our experienced and specialist child solicitors can help you in resolving disputes as to the arrangements for your children following family breakdown. Read on to find out how our expert lawyers can help you and your family.
Bridget Thompson Partner
“A family team that is able to offer the highest level of expertise across the family law spectrum from high-net-worth finances through to care proceedings and children matters.”
“I consider the firm to be very experienced in child care cases and to provide a very professional and high standard of work”
Arrangements for children after separation or divorce
When children are caught up in a divorce or separation, most parents will have their welfare uppermost in their minds. However, as each person seeks to forge a future, sometimes hard decisions can be exacerbated by the complexities of life particularly if there is significant wealth, children from multiple marriages, or an international dimension to the family.
Here at Osbornes Law, we are experienced in negotiating arrangements for children after divorce or separation, including international divorce. We can help to ensure children continue to see both their parents and extended family members, and that their financial needs are met appropriately. Our lawyers have a wealth of experience in creative solutions to best meet your family’s needs.
Putting the interests of children first
The welfare interest of your children must be paramount in any decisions, and if a dispute has to go to court this will be the guiding principle.
Once we have discussed your circumstances and wishes, we will advise you on the legal position. These considerations are wide-ranging, from the age and sex of each child to their own wishes and feelings on matters.
Older children may have their own interests and needs which must be accommodated. For example, we have experience in negotiating arrangements for gifted children whose training programmes and competitive schedules had to be taken into account.
What is a child arrangement order?
"Osbornes have been a sound firm forever. They have phenomenal work."
"They provide excellent advice and service to clients."
"Osbornes Law have a very broad family practice which does all areas of family law at a high level. They have an excellent practice; they are top quality across the board."
Bridget Thompson is a public law specialist noted for her extensive children public law practice.
"Osbornes offers a unique service of high quality advice and representation across a wide range of areas of law."
"The team are all eminently approachable and down to earth, committed, hardworking and who support their clients in a very effective, pragmatic way."
"Osbornes offers an excellent family law service spanning the wide range of disputes that may arise, in relation both to children and finances."
"A family team that is able to offer the highest level of expertise across the family law spectrum from high-net-worth finances through to care proceedings and children matters."
"David Leadercrammer is such an experienced wonderful lawyer who you would want on the other side of your case. He’s sensible, pragmatic and hugely experienced in money and children cases."
Osbornes have been a sound firm forever. They have phenomenal work and an excellent skill set.
They have high-end partners doing high-end work. They are very impressive.
They have an excellent practice; they are top quality across the board.
Osbornes have a very broad family practice which does all areas of family law at a high level.
He is very hard-working, diligent and thoughtful in his approach. He is on top of the detail and makes strategic decisions.
He commits himself to getting the best results.
He’s a really tough litigator that you certainly want on your side. He will defend his clients to the hilt.
Mark is an immensely capable lawyer, with vast experience and a well-deserved reputation for getting the very best for his clients.
Lisa Pepper is extremely hard-working and adored by her clients. She is a very empathetic and approachable lawyer.
She’s an extremely supportive and kind lawyer and has an increasing mediation profile too
"Mark Freedman is intelligent and personable and has a good selection of high-net work cases".
Andrew secured me the best financial settlement for my claim. He is a credit to Osbornes Solicitors.
"It has a strong and experienced team of solicitors who don’t take bad points, work sensibly to get a settlement and who you can always pick up the phone and speak to. They are good lawyers and know the strengths and weaknesses of their clients’ cases. They don’t posture and always pursue their clients cases appropriately. "
"Mark Freedman is a very capable lawyer, renowned for not being a pushover and pushing his clients’ cases as much as he can, but will always talk sensibly about settlement. He is among the best – tenacious, good judgment and tactically aware."
"Mark Freedman is a dynamic and highly experienced family lawyer who fights extremely hard for his clients and is always in their corner, thus ensuring their loyalty and confidence. In a trial you would always want him on your side."
"Bridget Thompson combines her excellent legal knowledge with a clear, succinct and robust style of advice and advocacy. Her approach clearly inspires a high degree of client confidence in her"
"She has impressed me as someone who fights my corner but also understands the importance of resolving issues without unnecessary escalation. She is calm and reassuring."
"Her mediation practice is exceptional; she is also a great solicitor and has a breadth of skill which is really useful."
"He is really experienced and wise. He has a lovely manner about him and clients feel safe with him."
"She is excellent. She's very reliable, talks about her cases passionately and is very committed to her clients."
"I consider the firm to be very experienced in child care cases and to provide a very professional and high standard of work"
"Jo Wescott is top notch and widely recognised as a rising star throughout the profession. She brings a winning combination of great judgement, an immense work ethic, and a relaxed and charming way with opponents and clients alike. Someone you want on your side”
"Osbornes is pre-eminent for family law in North London. Mark Freedman is a real rainmaker. He is an excellent lawyer and has a top-notch practice"
Mark Freedman is intelligent and personable and has a good selection of high-net work cases.
"Exceptional value for money. Highly competent and reasonably priced. Mark Freedman: one of the best in the field."
"Client-focused. Ready to fight the clients’ corner, but also ready where possible to steer client from unnecessary dispute. Mark Freedman – very experienced, with good instinct for the eventual result. Clients love him and he thinks ahead and directs the client to the best result for the client."
Mark Freedman is a serious player. A fearless family law litigator, who protects his clients’ interests passionately.
Breadth of knowledge and willingness to go the extra mile is what makes it stand out. Mark Freedman – devoted to his clients
Mark Freedman frequently takes on high-value financial and children proceedings that involve complex tax, trust and accounting issues. Sources praise the "tenacity and common sense" he brings to challenging disputes.
"Mark is very experienced, competent, good with clients and takes a sensible approach to cases. He knows exactly what he's doing."
Bridget Thompson is a public law specialist noted for her extensive practice in matters involving alternative families and adoption. An interviewee observes: "She's a fighter, she's clever, and she understands all aspects of a case."
Lisa Pepper is particularly recognised for her role as a mediator in complex cross-border disputes. Her practice also includes handling prenuptial agreements and issues arising from the dissolution of civil partnerships.
"An exceptional outfit. They take on difficult cases, fight hard and win."
"They are an outstanding firm to work with. They are consistently impressive in their work."
"The team frequently deals with cross-border estates for high–net-worth individuals."
"Mark Freedman is a real heavyweight litigator who has dealt with some very significant cases."
"Mark Freedman boxes clever, keeps his powder dry and when it comes to the end game he negotiates a really good deal."
"Mark Freedman has a specific focus on high-net-worth divorces and finance cases where there are overseas assets and trusts."
"Lisa Pepper somehow manages to get parties to settle on matters where there isn’t much hope to start out with."
"Well-regarded family practice assisting clients with substantial matrimonial disputes and sensitive children proceedings."
"Mark Freedman draws acclaim for his work in high net worth divorce cases, including those involving company structures, family trusts and overseas assets."
"He never gives up. He fights for you to the end and has boundless energy."
"Simone is absolutely on top of the game. She has great attention to detail, and has her clients' needs at heart."
"Bridget is client-focused, a pleasure to work with and incredibly supportive to her clients."
Bridget Thompson heads the family team, where client care is the top priority.
Mark Freedman advises high-net-worth clients and knows his stuff.
Highly regarded for his experience as a litigation and mediation expertise, Mark Freedman is tenacious and determined. Clients really feel that he is fighting their corner.
Simone McGrath is a highly knowledgeable practitioner with a focus on international child abduction matters. She has a large expertise in public and private law.
[The Family Law department] handles significant matrimonial finance cases and complex nuptial agreements. Respected for its expertise in cross-border children law matters.
They have a really good, strong team, with the junior elements punching well above their weight. It doesn't matter who you talk to; they are all switched on."
Simone McGrath handles international child abduction cases and challenging care proceedings relating to non-accidental injuries.
"Mark Freedman receives a lot of instructions from clients based abroad, often relating to complex divorce proceedings. Sources say: “His main strengths are his enthusiastic passion for the job in hand and his total dedication to his clients.”
This team is perhaps best known for its children work, often involving complex international dynamics.
Naomi Angell leads the market in cross-border children law matters. Sources confirm that she is "at the cutting edge of changing law and policy" when it comes to international adoption
Agreeing where children can live and stay
The living arrangements for children is a significant consideration when parents separate. Aside from the emotional aspects, the family home will often be one of the largest assets in the negotiation of a financial settlement after a divorce.
If you cannot reach an agreement amicably over the children’s living arrangements, then we will advise you on family mediation and how best to prepare for this. If there is no resolution following mediation, we can advise and represent you during court proceedings. In most circumstances, it will be necessary for you to attend mediation before court proceedings can be issued.
The housing needs of the children are dealt with as part and parcel of the financial settlement on divorce. If the matrimonial home needs to be sold, then it may be possible for the sale to be postponed until the children are adults.
We can advise you on your options and what will best suit your needs. If you are not married and are concerned about the housing needs of your children, then we can advise you on a possible application under the Children Act for a housing fund.
Agreeing financial provision for children
If you and your partner have separated, whether you had been married or not, there is an ongoing obligation to ensure that your children are provided for.
Generally, in the UK, the parent who lives with the children will receive monthly payments towards their upkeep from the other parent. Our lawyers will be able to advise you on what amount of money is appropriate given your own family circumstances. This will take into account incomes, how many children there are and how many overnight stays the children have with each parent.
We will always endeavour to reach an agreement with your former partner, however, if an agreement is not possible then you can apply to the Child Maintenance Services (CMS) which will only become involved if both parents reside in the UK. The CMS will calculate the money that needs to be paid, and if necessary, they may be able to recover payments directly from your former partner’s employer.
For paying parents, any income you receive over £3,000 gross per week will not be included in a CMS assessment. However, your former partner can take you to court to seek a top-up in maintenance or lump sum payments. The court is not restricted in what income or assets it can consider, including trust funds.
Find out more about our other children law services:
Insights from our Family LawyersVIEW ALL
Understanding Parental Responsibility Parental responsibility is the legal term used to describe the duties and responsibilities that parents have for...Read more
Unmarried fathers and parental responsibilities
The 1st December 2021 marked the 18th anniversary of the amendment to the Adoption and Children Act 2002 which gave unmarried fathers...Read more
6 cases that shape a private children dispute
Family disputes involving children can be particularly emotive, which is why our expert children lawyers work tirelessly to understand how...Read more
Child arrangements for going abroad when separated
I am separated from my spouse – can I take the children abroad on holiday? The answer to this question is...Read more
Child arrangements affected by pandemic travel restrictions
International families experiencing long separation periods from children As pandemic restrictions continue to limit overseas travel, increasing numbers of separated...Read more
Welfare of Child Remains Priority for Courts In...
If press reports are to be believed, the Kim Kardashian /Kanye West split will not lead to a custody battle...Read more
Christmas restrictions set to cause conflict between exes...
Government plans to limit household mixing to three households over five days during the Christmas period will put a strain...Read more
COVID-19: Legal update on child arrangements
Many parents are understandably worried about the spread of COVID-19 and the impact of new social distancing measures upon them...Read more
Child Arrangements at Christmas
The Christmas period can be a hectic and stressful time for all parents, but for separated parents, it can be...Read more
Can I take the children abroad on holiday?
The answer to this question is not straightforward. There are a number of relevant domestic and European laws but particularly...Read more
Shared Parenting Plan
I am often asked by a divorcing client: Do I need an Order recording the arrangements for the children? My...Read more
Six Tips To Help Your Children Through Divorce
The rise in divorce globally has turned the attention of academics and researchers towards the impact of parental divorce on...Read more
All change in children law
Last year, economist David Norgrove, was commissioned to review the family justice system and made recommendations to the government. Today...Read more
Children disagreements during Easter holidays
The Easter holidays can be a flashpoint for disagreements. When couples separate, it can be very difficult to reach an...Read more
Summer holidays – a hotbed for child contact disagreements
The summer holidays can be a real source for disagreements and arguments. When couples separate, it can be very difficult...Read more
Considerations for high-net-worth families
If you or your spouse are high-net-worth individuals, then your lifestyles will need to be taken into account. When calculating what is a fair amount, we will want to know the standard of living the children experienced, for example do the children attend private school (or for younger children if this was intended), do they have a horse or horse-riding lessons, or regularly go skiing or sailing?
If your former partner is a high-net-worth individual, then it may be possible to make an application to court to top up the level of maintenance awarded by the CMS. Under the Children Act the courts can award lump sums to allow children to be maintained in a certain lifestyle and to pay for the likes of private school fees. The courts can even order for the transfer of property to the benefit of the children.
Read: Child Maintenance: When is capital, income?
It is preferable to try and reach a sensible fair agreement out of court. This will not only save you in time and costs but can also mean you have more control over what additional monies are spent on. You may even agree to pay directly for some of your children’s activities and expenses such as private school fees. We can advise you on a realistic level of maintenance in light of your situation.
Common disputes over children
Disputes can arise over your children and their upbringing, even after divorce or separation. Our solicitors have extensive experience of advising parents and negotiating agreements in a range of situations including:
where the children will live and what amount of time they will spend with each parent and their extended family members;
- where the children will spend Christmas, birthdays, and holidays
- permission to relocate to another part of the UK or even abroad with one parent;
- abduction of children;
- where the children will go to school;
- whether the children should have a change of surname following separation;
- disagreement over options for medical treatments;
- disagreement over religious upbringing and practices;
- disputes over payment for specialist equipment, lessons or trips, for example for sports or music;
- concerns about a new partner or spouse.
What you can expect from our children lawyers
You will likely face your former spouse on many occasions in the future because of your children, whether at school or sporting events, graduation, or a wedding, so it is important to keep communication channels open as much as possible.
Our lawyers who are all accredited members of Resolution aim to maintain a civil relationship with your former partner. We also have a number of specialist solicitors that are accredited members of the Law Society’s Children Act panel and can support you through court proceedings if required.
We will advise you on your rights and options and will negotiate firmly on your behalf to obtain the best agreement regarding your children’s living arrangements, financial provision, and implications for the family home.
Your next step
The first thing to do is to contact us. One of our expert lawyers will take a history of your circumstances and discuss your desired outcome. Then they will explain your options, likely timescales, and costs.
If you have a prenuptial or a post-nuptial agreement, then we will need to see a copy of this document.
If you are overseas or outside London, we have high speed video conferencing facilities and a full online service to ensure you are kept up-to-date and fully appraised of your case and legal options.