After divorce or separation, there is a need for parties in this case (both parents) to make critical decisions involving the welfare of the child.

Children Custody in Case of Divorce or Separation

These decisions can be.
1. Where the child will live.
2. When the child spends time with each parent (mother or father) or any other parties entrusted with the welfare of the child.
3. When and how other types of contacts like phone calls and visits are to be made.
4. Who to live with the child.

Such arrangements were previously called Residence Orders and Contact Orders respectively. Child Arrangement Orders have since replaced them. Child arrangement orders can be applied by the child’s mother, father or anyone with parental responsibility. Other relatives like grandparents can also apply for the orders but limited to the court’s decision.

All mothers and fathers have legal rights and responsibilities called Parental Responsibilities. These responsibilities include providing a home for a child and protection from any form of harm.

Having parental responsibilities does not necessarily mean living with a child, but the other parent will still update you on the child’s well-being and progress. Parents have to ensure their children get financial support whether they have parental responsibilities or not.

Also, you will be responsible for:
1. Disciplining the child
2. Choosing and providing for the child’s education
3. Agreeing to the child’s medical treatment
4. Naming the child or deciding on any future change of name
5. Looking for the child’s property

Majority of parents make applications for child custody orders without considering the real issues. This is because it is taken to be more important than addressing the cause of the conflict.

Consequently, effective from 22nd April, the government abolished such orders and replaced them with Child Arrangement Orders.

These are defined as orders:
a) Defining who to live with the child or have contact with the child.
b) Defining who to live with the child, who may communicate with the child, when and how to contact the child.

Thus, there are two types of child arrangement orders:
1. Provides whom to live with the child and when.
2. States persons allowed to communicate with the child, when they can contact, and how it has to be done.

These orders are not different from contact and residence orders. The proposed changes to law replace residence orders with an order defining who to live with the child, and when the said person is to live with the child.

Contact order, on the other hand, was replaced with another providing defining whom the child it to spend time or have contact.

Court considerations and decisions on who the child will stay with, or make contact with vary; law has been set on different pages about
1. Residence (where the child lives)
2. Contact (time with someone)

It is the wish of every parent to be together with their children and successfully nurture them along. In the case of parental differences, it is therefore advised that parties attend the Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting.

It is inexpensive ways to provide solutions outside the courts and a practical way to solve children issues. These provisions are however limited in certain complicated circumstances. You can apply for a single court order or some them depending on the issues in question

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