Child arrangements

The resources in this section will help if you have just split up with your children’s other parent and are having to make child arrangements for the first time, or if you have been sharing parenting for some time but need to come up with a new plan.

This section is family law help for parents who do not live together and need to make arrangements for their children. We want to help you to find ways to agree where your children will live and when they will see both parents between you, or with the help of a family mediator or solicitor, including seeing your children at Christmas. If you cannot do that and have to ask the court for a child arrangements order, we want to help you do that well and without causing undue stress for anyone involved, especially the children. 

People often still call these arrangements child custody, shared custody, access or child contact, even though that isn’t what the law calls them anymore.

Most people cannot get free advice from solicitors to deal with family law issues anymore. If there is evidence of domestic abuse in your relationship or if your child is at risk of abuse then this can, in some cases, mean you can get legal aid

Getting legal advice about your child arrangements can be very helpful, particularly if you are considering going to court about it. Readers of our guides can access low-cost advice for a fixed fee from members of our panel of expert family solicitors. For more details of this service and how to access it, see the guides below.