Custody of children

We offer initial legal advice on custody of children and can help you with a child arrangement order.

Child custody court orders in England & Wales

If you and your ex are having any child custody problems related to:

  • agreeing who your child / children should live with
  • agreeing the time a child / children should spend with the other parent
  • agreeing on a specific child / children care, school, medical or religious issue

You should understand the legal options available through these court orders:

  • child arrangement order
  • specific issue order
  • prohibited steps order

Child arrangement orders

Child arrangement orders were formerly called child contact and residence orders. When parents separate, they might disagree on what's best for the children.

For example:

  • which parent they should live with?
  • when and how much time they spend with the parent they don't live with?
  • should their name should be changed?
  • should they move schools?
  • how should decisions be made around any religious or medical treatment issues?

A child arrangement order can set out:

  • arrangements for where a child lives either with a parent or a non-parent
  • arrangements for a child to spend time with or otherwise have contact with a person they don't live with, often the non-resident parent

When dealing with a child arrangements order application, the court will take the stance that it is generally better for a child/children if a parent is involved in their lives.

Specific issue orders

A specific issue order can be applied for to ask the court to resolve a disagreement about any matter related to parental responsibility. For example:

  • which school the child should go to
  • whether the child should receive medical treatment
  • how religion should be included in the child’s upbringing
  • whether the parent with care can take the child to live abroad

If you want to take a child that lives with you abroad this is a complex matter with extra factors that the court must consider. It could be a criminal offence to take a child out of England or Wales without the right consent or court order, so it’s important to get legal advice beforehand.

Prohibited steps orders

A prohibited steps order can ask the court to prevent one parent taking a particular action related to parental responsibility. For example:

  • preventing the child associating with someone with adverse influence
  • preventing the child being permanently removed from the UK
  • preventing medical treatment

Solicitor fee for child arrangement orders

Our fixed hourly solicitor fee for advising you and preparing the application to the court for a child arrangement order starts from £210 per hour including VAT. We will agree our solicitors fee with you upfront before any work starts.

Once we have provided you with a written quote for the agreed work, that price will not change.

For other court orders and injunctions see family law & divorce court orders.

How we can help you

It’s beneficial to both parents and the children if you and your ex can co-operate on arrangements for the children. It’s important to ensure that the children are not involved in conflict or arguments and that their needs are put first.

Making arrangements for children can be very emotive and you may not be able to discuss matters constructively. We offer a range of legal services including collaborative law and family mediation to help you find a sensible way forward that puts the children’s needs first and avoids the potential stress, cost and delay of court proceedings.

However if you feel you have exhausted all attempts to agree on arrangements for your children then you may need to make an application to the court which we can help you with.

You can expect our children law solicitors to:

  • always act with integrity and in an ethical, responsible and constructive way
  • always deliver our services in easily accessible ways to suit you
  • keep the bigger picture in mind to help you at every step of your case
  • help you ensure the benefits of any steps are balanced against financial or emotional costs
  • inform you of all your options to help you decide what is best for you

Thank you again for my children and my freedom. (Mrs. W., Bristol)

Customer testimonials

Our promise to you

No nasty surprises. We will provide a written quote before any work starts.

No legal jargon. We will take time to understand your needs and provide clear explanations so you completely understand what’s going on every step of the way.

Minimise stress. We will help you reach the best possible outcome for you and your family with the least possible distress.

Treat you as an individual. We do not believe in a one size fits all approach and we will work with you to find the solution that's right for you.

Handle your case with sensitivity. Our family solicitors, lawyers and legal specialists are experts in family law and have specialist training to ensure they can help you through the challenges you are facing.

Fair pricing. Our fixed fee packages mean you know how much your legal work will cost.

About Co-op Legal Services

The family law team at Co-op Legal Services includes specialist family solicitors, divorce solicitors and children law solicitors with Resolution accreditation and accredited experts in child abduction, co-habitation, domestic abuse, property disputes, high net worth money matters and financial advocacy.

Resolution is a national organisation of family lawyers committed to non-confrontational divorce, separation and other family problems.

As part of the Co-op Group, our values of openness, honesty, social responsibility and caring for others are core to the service we provide.