Do I need to apply to the court to make arrangements for my child after separation?

If you and your former partner can agree where your child/ren will live and who they will spend time with there is no need to make an application to the court. 

In fact, because of something called the “no order” principle, there should be some sort of ongoing dispute (that you cannot resolve) for the court to get involved. 

An application for the court to decide child arrangements, (previously known as residence and contact or access), can take a long time and can be a very fraught process. 

Even if you cannot agree initially, other options such as mediation should be considered before making an application to court. 

There are also resources online to help parents agree child arrangements. The website of the Citizens Advice Bureau, the website and Cafcass’ website  all have helpful resources. The Cafcass website also has useful information on creating a parenting plan. 

There will, however, be circumstances in which you cannot reach agreement. If you have safeguarding concerns about the lifestyle of your child’s other parent or their ability to safely care for them, then you should speak to a suitably qualified solicitor. RLK Solicitors have experienced family law solicitors able to advise upon the factors most relevant to your circumstances and how these should be taken into account. A realistic approach often saves both time and money.

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