Changing Child Contact Arrangements – How to Get Started
Changing Child Contact Arrangements UK
If you and your partner have split up and have a child together, contact arrangements can be made so that you can both spend time with your child, but in some cases you may need to look at changing child contact arrangements.
Seeing both parents is very beneficial for your child, especially since your breakup may leave them feeling confused about their relationship with each of you.
Sometimes, child contact arrangements are made soon after a breakup, but need to change after time has passed due to different circumstances with you, your ex, or the child themselves.
It is possible to make improvements and changes to child contact arrangements with the help of a solicitor.
Cartwright King is a provider of legal aid services, so legal aid may be available to you.
Our family team are experts in children law, and can work with you to help get the result that is best for your child.
How to Sort Out Child Contact Arrangements After a Separation?
It can be stressful to separate from your partner and start to sort out child contact arrangements, but it is better to do it sooner rather than later.
You also don’t have to figure it out on your own. If you are amicable, you and your ex partner can sit down together and figure out the following:
- Who your child/children are going to live with and where
- When and how they will see you and your partner
- Who else they might see, such as cousins and grandparents
- Who will be responsible for the child’s/children’s financial needs
If you are further down the line and your child arrangements aren’t working out, it is possible to change them. The same process will apply for when you first established them, so if you were able to decide between the two of you, you can try to make changes by discussing them with each other.
If you are looking at changing child contact arrangements and need representation, our family law solicitors are here to help.
How Can I See My Child Without Going to Court?
If you do not get on with your ex, you can use mediation to try and establish contact arrangements. Mediation can be beneficial because the mediator will work with the both of you to help you agree on working out child arrangements. If this doesn’t work, you may need to appoint a solicitor to negotiate arrangements on your behalf.
If you really can’t see eye-to-eye, you may need to go to court, where child arrangements will be established for you by a judge. You can only go to court if you have done everything you can to try and agree on child arrangements, or if domestic abuse was experienced by you and/or your child.
If a child arrangements order has already been imposed by the court that you are not happy with, you will have to apply to make a variation to this if you want to see your child more. Unfortunately, you will have to appear in court to do so.
What Can I Do if My Ex Won’t Let Me Talk to My Child?
Contact with a parent is the right of your child, not their other parent, so if your ex won’t let you talk to your child then you may be able to take action. However, you should bear in mind that ‘contact’ can be direct or indirect. Direct contact is face-to-face, whereas indirect can include phone calls, emails and letters.
If you are the mother of a child, you automatically have what is called ‘parental responsibility’. Biological fathers named on the birth certificate of children registered after December 1st 2003 also automatically have parental responsibility.
Although this does not give any parent an automatic right to contact, contact should only ever be restricted when it’s necessary to protect a child’s interests. Essentially, this means that if your ex won’t let you talk to your child without good reason, you can seek help, such as mediation or legal negotiation.
You and your ex may have previously obtained a child arrangements order from the court which states you are entitled to see or speak to your child so many times a week, month or year. If you have, and now your ex is blocking you from doing so, they may be in contempt of court and you could pursue legal action against them.
You should always think of how your actions with your ex will impact your child. If you need advice on how to approach a situation regarding changing child contact arrangements, we could help.
Changing a Court Order
If your child arrangements are not working out but you have a child arrangements order in place, it is possible to change this. You will have to apply to the court to do so, since they were the ones who originally drafted the order.
A court order can be changed for a range of reasons, including:
- Your children are older so their needs are different
- Your job has changed, meaning you cannot have contact with your children in the same way as is set out in the original order
- You are moving to a different part of the country or even abroad
If you do not apply to the court for a variation, instead choosing to simply change your contact, you will technically be in contempt of court and your ex could pursue legal action against you.
How Can Cartwright King Help with Changing Child Contact Arrangements?
Changing child contact arrangements can often be difficult, especially if you and your ex don’t get along. Our family law solicitors understand this and are here to help make the process as simple and stress-free as possible.
Whether you are seeking to change a court order or want representation in negotiations, we can help.
All advice is correct at time of publication.