Sorting out a child arrangement order during a separation or divorce could get complicated. Here is everything you need to know about dealing with it the right way…
For many people, a divorce is a mutual decision, which involves amicable arrangements and calm agreements. That said, this can’t be said for everyone.
For those who don’t find themselves in a civil situation, this could put a spanner in the works for the future of your children. In cases where a cordial arrangement can’t be agreed, a child arrangement order might be required.
Want to know everything there is to know about getting a child arrangement order, and helping your child deal with these changes? Then, you came to the right place…
Child Arrangement Order Explained…
For someone who’s on the brink of a separation or divorce, your first thought will most likely be, “what about the kids?”. Sure, if it’s an amicable break, choosing what to do with your children is probably easy as pie. That said, if the opposite is true, there are legal ways to go about this…
What is a Child Arrangement Order?
A child arrangement order is a way to decide what happens with your child, or children, after a divorce or separation. This includes deciding:
- Who the child or children will live with;
- Who the child or children will spend time with;
- And when and what types of contact take place.
As we’ve already touched upon, this process is only necessary if you can’t decide what to do, between you. By seeking legal advice, and setting up a child arrangement order, this can help to avoid any more unwanted arguments or strife.
What is a C100?
When talking about child arrangement orders, you may come across the term C100. This refers to an application form required for a number of procedures, including a child arrangement order. So, if this sort of procedure is on your radar, be aware that you will have to fill in and sign one of these during the process.
What is the Child Arrangement Order Allowance?
Once a child arrangement order is agreed upon, there’s more to it than just signing the papers and going on your way. The next step is to decide whether a payable allowance is to be set up for the benefit of the predominant carer, be it mum or dad.
In order to work this out when the agreement is drawn up, a calculation based on the child’s needs, and any additional legal payments, will be taken into account. In most cases, there will be agreed rates made payable, which is the equivalent of a basic fostering allowance. There could also be some one-off costs throughout the child allowance order, like equipment and furniture for the child’s benefit.
This may sound a little complicated but, if you’re already at the stage where a child arrangement order is being drawn up, your lawyer will help you all the way.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Child Arrangement Order?
Normally, the court will take around four to six weeks to deal with a C100. However, if the issue is a little more urgent than that, there will be a little box you can tick on the front page of the form to hurry things along. Alongside this, you’ll have to fill in some extra pages, which have some further stipulations you need to bear in mind.
What is an Interim Child Arrangement Order?
An interim child arrangement order is a temporary order, which can be used in a number of cases. For example, say some information emerges about the predominant carer of the child in question, which could put them in danger. This would mean that the child must be placed in the other parent’s custody, temporarily, until a more permanent situation could be agreed.
What Happens in a Child Arrangement Order Breach?
So, what if trouble ensues, and the order is breached, or not complied with? Well, there are a couple of penalties for this, which are as follows:
- The parent who breaches the order must complete 200 hours of community service.
- Alternatively, the parent can be fined by the court.
- In extreme cases, a short prison sentence can even be enforced on the parent in question.
Sometimes, though, these repercussions might not even be required. If the couple involved can work out these issues through discussion, then bringing the court into the process won’t be necessary.
Top Tips to Help Your Child Deal with a Child Arrangement Order
When it comes to a divorce, and having to deal with a child arrangement order, it will often be harder on your child. So, with this in mind, here are some top tips for helping you to help your child to deal with this difficult situation…
1. Be Honest with Them
My first tip, and something which is very important throughout the whole process, is to practice honesty. Make sure you child is in-the-know about your decisions, and explain to them why you’ve decided to live apart.
It may help you to practice these conversations beforehand, so you can control your emotions in front of them. This way, they’ll be about to channel their own emotions, and recognise how they feel without the influence of your own feelings affecting them.
2. Acknowledge Their Feelings
During this process, you have to remember that your child will probably be very hurt. They may not understand how they’re feeling, and could project this pain onto you. By ensuring to tell them that you understand and know that they’re upset, this gives them an opportunity to combat their emotions.
In some cases, the thought of a separation between parents could lead to opposite feelings to this. In fact, your child may be feeling relieved, or even happy and excited. This is also a valid feeling, so sharing with your child in these emotions is a good way to help them deal with them.
3. Put Their Feelings First
A separation or divorce is a very personal decision, which often doesn’t put your child first. This is absolutely okay, as you have to put your own emotions and feelings before anything else, so as to be the best person you can be.
That said, when it comes to organising what’s next, like the child arrangement order, an opposite approach could work. By allowing your child to have some sort of say in where they live, or how much time they spend somewhere, this could help them to feel like they have control over the situation.
4. Provide Support and Reassurance
At the end of the day, the most important thing is to assure your child that you and their other parent are there for them. It will also work wonders to remind them that parents and children are tied together, no matter what, and that you both still love them. This way, they’ll feel supported and loved; these things may seem simple, but they’ll mean a lot.
Have You Had Any Experience Dealing With This?
So, there we have it; my top tips on dealing with a divorce and child arrangement order, keeping your kids’ feelings in mind as you go. After all, now that your break-up is underway, it’s time to put your children first.
Have you had experience dealing with a child arrangement order? Or, do you have any tips on helping your children to deal with your divorce or separation? I’d love to hear what you have to say in the comments below, so we can help each other out along the way.