The labelling of Court Orders setting out the arrangements regarding the upbringing of children after parents have separated is an issue which Governments have been wrestling with for over 25 years.
As of 22nd April 2014, the Court will no longer make Residence or Contact Orders and will instead make Child Arrangement Orders under the Children and Families Act 2014.
A Child Arrangement Order is defined as an Order regulating arrangements relating to any of the following—
(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.
This has resulted from the Government’s wish to reduce the levels of animosity currently apparent within the Family Courts system. It was well known that an already strained co-parenting relationship could be further damaged by the parents’ perception that one of them has ‘won’ by being granted a Residence or Contact Order. Further, the labels of ‘Residence’ and ‘Contact’ could give the impression that one parent is more important than the other in a child’s life.
The change of terminology to ‘Child Arrangement Order’ aims to focus the parents’ minds away from their own personal rights and more to the arrangements which should be implemented for the benefit of their child.
It is likely that such Orders will inherently deal with what lawyers previously referred to as residence and contact, but do so using language which is less positional and recognises the role that each parent plays in a more balanced way.
Newcastle based David Gray Solicitors LLP understand that family breakdown brings with it a range of issues, which can feel more complicated when children are involved. Their team of Resolution Accredited Specialists, Collaborative Lawyers and Family Mediators can help you to make arrangements that work best for your family, putting the needs of your children first. For more information, please visit http://www.davidgray.co.uk.