Child Arrangements Orders (CAO)
Child Arrangement Orders is the name of the order under the Children Act 1989, which regulates with whom a child is to live, spend time with or otherwise have contact with. It replaced what was previously known as ‘Custody and Access Orders’ and more recently ‘Residence and Contact Orders’.
The order can be worded such that the child will live with just one person for example Parent A. However, it can also be worded that the child will live with two people in different households, at different times for example “The child shall live with Parent A on alternate weekends from Friday after school until Monday morning to school, each Wednesday from after school to Thursday morning to school and for 50% of school holidays. The child shall live with Parent B at all other times.”
If the order is worded as the child is to ‘live with’ a person, it means that person can take the child out of the jurisdiction of England and Wales for up to one month without the consent of the other parent.
If the order is worded as the child shall ‘spend time with’ a person, they do not have the right to take the child out of England and Wales without the other parent’s consent or further court orders.
The CAO can also regulate the contact arrangements by deciding if there should be:
- Direct contact being face-to-face contact and if so whether that should include overnight and holiday contact.
- Indirect contact being telephone or video calls, letters and cards.
If there are concerns about a child’s safety or a person’s ability to care for a child adequately, the court could make an order for any contact to be supervised.
A CAO will continue until a child is 16 years of age or in exceptional circumstances, 18 years of age. The CAO will automatically end if the child’s parents live together for more than 6 months after the order has been made.
Talk to Tollers
If you would like further information about Child Arrangement Orders contact Tollers Family Law team today.