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October 2022

How long does a child arrangements order last?

By | Children

A child arrangements order legally determines whom a child can live with until 16 years old, except in exceptional circumstances where an order can last until 18. It is an order from the courts and is usually part of the divorce or separation process.

Divorce and separation can be a testing and confusing time for children. They need to be kept in the loop and aware of how much time they will be spending with each parent or guardian. A child arrangements order helps provide stability by laying down some legal ground rules for where a child will reside. Continue reading to learn more about child arrangements orders and how long they last.

What is a child arrangements order?

A child arrangements order can provide you with parental responsibility for a child, even if you don’t happen to be the biological parent. In order to obtain a child arrangements order, you must first apply for a court order granting you permission.

Coming to suitable arrangements for children after going through the emotional rollercoaster of divorce or separation can be a time when everything is up in the air. Try to stay level-headed to put your child’s needs first. Bromfield Legal family solicitors are go-to legal experts for advice on child arrangements orders.

Who can apply for a child arrangements order?

Only certain people in relation to a child will be able to apply for a child arrangements order without first getting the permission of the court. This includes:

  • Parents of a child
  • An appointed guardian or special guardian
  • A person already engaged in an order currently in force
  • Any person involved in a marriage, for example, step-parents
  • Any person a child has lived with for more than 3 years
  • A person who receives the consent of each person with an existing child arrangements order agreement in place
  • A person who receives the consent of the local authority in charge of a child’s care
  • A court has already awarded you with parental responsibilities
  • Foster parents who have lived with a child for at least 1 year prior to the application for an order
  • A family relative of a child who has lived with them for at least 1 year

single parent walking a child

If you don’t fall into any of these criteria, then you will be required to seek leave and ask permission from a court to apply for a child arrangements order. Keep in mind that putting yourself forward does not mean you will be successful with an application.

The court will decide whether or not to grant you an order based on factors such as:

  • The nature of the application for the order
  • The applicant’s connection and relationship to the child
  • Considering whether the order application will be disruptive to the child’s life or put them at risk in any way
  • The wishes and future plans of a child and their parents where a local authority is in charge of a child’s care

Can police enforce a child arrangements order?

There are law enforcement measures that can be taken if you can prove to a family court beyond reasonable doubt that your ex-partner or an appointed guardian has failed to follow the order. Family courts have the power to:

  • Demand compensation through a financial loss order
  • Alter child arrangements e.g. changing the amount of time a child spends with one of their parents or guardians
  • Carry out an enforcement order against your ex-partner
  • Make your ex-partner pay a fine
  • Or even send your ex-partner to prison in the most severe cases

Can a child arrangements order be changed?

Decisions on child arrangements orders are made based on what the family court believes the children’s best interests to be at the time. Child arrangements orders can be altered according to changes in parents’ circumstances and how a child’s needs change as they get older. One parent cannot change a child’s arrangements order without first seeking the court’s approval or agreement from the other parent.

parents discussing a child arrangements order

Can a child arrangements order be revoked?

If parents are unable to come to an agreement, an application to the court can be made to revoke a child arrangements order currently in place. In the case that both parents agree, alternative arrangements can be put in place.

Hopefully, you now understand more about how child arrangements orders work and how long they last. At Bromfield legal, we are a team of expert family law solicitors perfectly placed to guide you through securing legally binding childcare arrangements for your divorce or separation.

Get in touch by ringing our Nuneaton office on 024 7638 2343, or our Warwick office on 01926 702 702, or emailing us at

couple handing over their wedding rings in a divorce

How long does it take to divorce?

By | Divorce and Separation

The divorce process, and the ancillary issues such as property, finance and children, can be a long and drawn-out one. It all really hinges on just how contested the issues are and how much a couple is able to agree on together.

On average, divorces in this country take around 6 months to complete. However, some people spend far longer arguing the toss with their ex regarding the ancillary issues. So, it’s also not unheard of for hotly contested divorces to take 2 years or more to finalise.

To begin official divorce proceedings in the UK, you must have already been married for at least 1 year. If you want to get divorced before this 1 year period elapses, you can alternatively seek a legal separation without divorcing, which gives the courts the power to decide issues relating to finance and property.

What are the grounds for divorce?

The only ground for divorce under the new law which came into effect in April 2022 is the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. Either party can commence the proceedings. Usually, it is not possible for the other party to defend or delay the proceedings.

This process avoids the proceedings being costly, both financially and emotionally. However, if you are deciding on important matters like childcare arrangements for your children, and financial settlements the proceedings can still be prolonged and expensive, particularly if expert legal advice is not obtained at an early stage.

Pick the right family solicitors firm

Once you feel like getting a divorce will be inevitable, you will want to get it sorted and have the papers in your hands as soon as possible. How long it takes for you to divorce could rest on choosing the services of a good family solicitors firm.

You need to work with legal professionals who know what they’re doing. Otherwise, the divorce and ancillary proceedings can be long-winded and frustrating. At Bromfield Legal, we are experts in family law. We have a wealth of experience in helping to get the best results for our clients, ensuring their divorces are completed as stress-free and as quickly as possible.

Divorce documents

There is essential paperwork you need to have in the UK as evidence to prove you’re now officially divorced and allowed to remarry. When a marriage or civil partnership has officially been terminated by divorce, both the petitioner and the responder will receive the Final Order of Divorce (previously known as the decree absolute). Once your application for the Final Order has been sent to the family court, your divorce will be finalised within a few weeks at most, and often within a few days.

Try remaining calm

Try staying well-mannered and affable with your ex-partner. This will help speed everything up and make things go more smoothly.

divorcing couple

There’s nothing wrong with being candid about the arrangements you want to secure in your divorce arrangement. However, there’s no need to be rude or inflame an already stressful situation for both parties and your loved ones. Remain as calm as possible. This should help to give you some peace of mind during an inevitably tricky time in your life.

For dedicated legal advice to help you through a divorce or separation, look no further than Bromfield Legal. Get in touch by phoning us at our Nuneaton or Warwick offices or sending an email to