Child arrangements - legal services

We can help you with legal advice, support and legal representation services if you are involved in a dispute about arrangements for your children, including:

  • Who your child should live with

  • Who your child should spend time with

  • Specific parenting issues (such as gender transitions, medical decisions and schooling).  

We have a particular specialism working with parents through assisted reproduction, LGBT+ parents and on cases involving gender identity issues. 

How we help with children cases

In the first instance we usually arrange a meeting with you, which can be face to face at our offices in London or the New Forest, or by Skype or telephone.  We work with families based all over the UK and internationally. We can help you understand what the family court is likely to do if you (or someone else) applies for a child arrangements order, and what steps you can take to find a solution as pragmatically as possible.

Contact us to arrange a meeting in person or by Skype or Telephone.

You can fill in our contact form, call us on +44 (0) 20 3701 5915 or email us at      

What is a child arrangements order?

From there we can help you apply for a child arrangements order, or respond to an application made by someone else, or reach an agreement by other means.

A child arrangements order is a court order made by the family court which says who your child should live with and who they should spend time (as well as detailing the timings, location and any supervision arrangements).  They used to be called residence and contact orders, and before that custody and access orders.

You may need to ask the court for a child arrangements order if you have separated from your partner and cannot agree arrangements for your children.  You might also need one if you are in a dispute with your child’s donor, surrogate or co-parent about arrangements for the child you have conceived together (or if you are a donor or co-parent seeking involvement with your child).

Child arrangements orders also deal with specific parenting issues where parents cannot agree.  Typical issues include whether a child should have a particular medical treatment, be allowed to go through a social gender transition or attend a particular school. Where adults cannot agree, the family court can make an order resolving a specific issue, or make a prohibited steps order to stop something from happening.

Whatever the nature of your dispute, you will always be encouraged by the family court to reach your own agreement and to consider mediation where appropriate.  If this is not possible or is unsuccessful the court will (after hearing the evidence from each side, and in some cases asking for input from CAFCASS and other experts) make a decision based on what is best for your child’s welfare.  The court has a very broad discretion which makes it important to manage the process sensibly and strategically. We can help you to do that.

Who can apply to court about a child?  

Legal parents and some other adults have an automatic right to apply to court for a child arrangements order.  Other adults may first need the permission of the court, which will be given if you can show sufficient connection with the child.  

If you are a parent through donor conception or surrogacy, you may need to check whether you are entitled to apply before starting an application.

Child law solicitors: how we can help

We can help you apply for a child arrangements order, or respond to an application made by someone else.  We will discuss with you honestly what the family court is likely to do in your case, and advise you strategically on how best to move forward and how we can help you.  

We provide legal representation services to manage any court process and support you through any discussions with the other party in your case.  We know how much you need someone on your side during what can be a stressful and emotional process, and our role is to guide you strategically to ensure the best possible outcome, and to support you at a personal level.

Our work is charged competitively on an hourly rate basis, with regular monthly invoicing and clear costs estimates given at every stage.

Looking for more information about children law disputes?

Our free online Knowledge Centre contains guidance, published articles and access to the law and forms you may need, including:

Children issues after parents separate

Disputes about children conceived through assisted reproduction

Disputes involving transgender children and parents

Contact us to arrange a meeting in person or by Skype or telephone.

You can fill in our contact form, call us on +44 (0) 20 3701 5915 or email us at