Guide to child arrangements after divorce



A divorce can be particularly hard for parents, as understanding the legal obligations can be a minefield to navigate.

Here at Forbes, we specialise in helping parents bring about a positive solution to their family law issue, keeping in mind the best interests of their children at all times. In addition, we also offer advice to those who want to better understand the legal obligations placed upon them once a divorce has been settled and custody has been awarded.

With the aim of providing parents and guardians with a better understanding of the steps they must take in the event of a divorce, we have provided a short list outlining the process.

If you divorce, separate from your partner or end your civil partnership you will need to make arrangements for your children. These arrangements can be agreed with either the help of your partner or the help of a mediator.

In the event that you cannot agree terms, some of these terms can be decided in court, with the help of Forbes solicitors. If you decide to go to court, you must prove that you have considered mediation. In some cases, this rule regarding mediation will not apply, for example, if there is evidence of domestic abuse.

These agreements may include things like:

  • Where the children will live
  • When and how much time they will spend with each parent or guardian
  • Which school or nursery the children will attend
  • Whether the children can be taken out of the jurisdiction

What is mediation?

Mediation can often be the best way to agree terms with your ex-partner, as they offer impartial and independent advice and discuss problems with you and your partner to find the best solution.

Will I have to go to court?

Not necessarily, but in the cases where the mediator believes mediation is not appropriate or a solution cannot be agreed upon by both parties you may have to. In this case Forbes solicitors can represent you.

If you do need to go to court, you will need to fill in a 'C100 Form' to prove that you have considered and consulted with a mediator. This form can be particularly difficult to understand, but there is no need to worry, as any of our family law specialists will be able to help you with this.

Can you tell me about the different types of court orders?

Parents and guardians can apply for any amount of court orders, but this will depend on what you have been unable to agree on.

Court orders may encompass a variety of arrangements including:

  • Where your child will live
  • When you can spend time with your child, when this can take place and the whereabouts
  • Whether the time you spend with your child will be indirect for example phone calls, or direct such as visitation etc.
  • What school your child will go to
  • Whether or not they should have a religious education

In addition, parents can apply for a 'prohibited steps order' that will stop the other parent from making decisions about the child's upbringing and the points highlighted above.

I am a grandparent, can I apply?

Grandparents can also apply for court orders after they have obtained permission from the courts, but anyone with parental responsibility such as the child's mother or father can apply for a court order.

How do I apply?

You can apply on your own, but if you wish to ensure the best possible outcome for your child you should seek the help of a qualified and experienced solicitor.

What happens after I apply?

If you decide to file a court application, the court will arrange a 'first case management hearing' and in addition you will be contacted for safeguarding checks to be carried out by a family court adviser from the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass) at the hearing. If you choose to instruct Forbes, we will help you every step of the way as you will be required to try and work out the following with a judge or magistrate:

  • What you cannot agree
  • The terms that you can agree
  • And if your child is at all at risk

If there are no concerns about your child's welfare and you can reach an agreement the judge or magistrate can end the process there and then.

What if I can't agree?

If you cannot agree terms you will need the expert help of a team of family law solicitors to help you achieve a positive outcome.

Do I need a solicitor?

At the end of the day you may find that you do not in fact feel that you need a solicitor, but to ensure the best possible outcome for your child we would recommend that you seek advice from an experienced legal team. They may be able to highlight any potential discrepancies in your case and can help you increase your chances of maintaining the best interests of your child.

We understand how devastating a divorce or separation can be, on both parents and the children involved and handle all family law cases with the utmost compassion, sympathy and understanding. Your best interests are at the heart of everything we do and we will fight fearlessly to ensure those interests are upheld.

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Monday to Friday:
09:00 to 17:00

Saturday and Sunday:

Our dedicated Family/Divorce team

Adrienne Baker

Adrienne Baker




Call01254 580000

Alex Reid

Alex Reid

Solicitor, Family/Children



Call01772 220238

Amy Jones

Amy Jones






Contact Us

If you have a general enquiry then please fill in your details and someone will contact you.

Call0800 689 1058

CallRequest a call back

EmailSend us an email

Contacting Us

Monday to Friday: 09:00 to 17:00
Saturday and Sunday: Closed