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.


  • “Osbornes is a large team with expertise in private and public children. The strength and depth of the team means that every aspect of the complex cases sent to me is well prepared and properly considered.”

  • 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.

Speak to a Child Arrangement Solicitor

For a free initial conversation call 020 7485 8811

Email us Send us an email and we’ll get back to you

    • "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"

      Legal 500 2021

    • "She is excellent. She's very reliable, talks about her cases passionately and is very committed to her clients."

      Chambers UK 2021

    • "I consider the firm to be very experienced in child care cases and to provide a very professional and high standard of work"

      Chambers UK 2021

    • 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."

      Chambers UK

    • "Well-regarded family practice assisting clients with substantial matrimonial disputes and sensitive children proceedings."

      Chambers UK

    • "Simone is absolutely on top of the game. She has great attention to detail, and has her clients' needs at heart."

      Chambers UK

    • "Bridget is client-focused, a pleasure to work with and incredibly supportive to her clients."

      Chambers UK

    • Bridget Thompson heads the family team, where client care is the top priority.

      Legal 500

    • 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.

      Chambers UK

    • Simone McGrath handles international child abduction cases and challenging care proceedings relating to non-accidental injuries.

      Chambers UK

    • This team is perhaps best known for its children work, often involving complex international dynamics.

      Chambers UK

    • 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

      Chambers UK

    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.

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    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.

    Contact us for Advice Today

    For a free initial conversation call 020 7485 8811

    Email us Send us an email and we’ll get back to you