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Child arrangements order

A child arrangements order is a court order that sets out:

  • Where and with whom a child is to live (this may be more than one person)
  • Who else the child should spend time with or have contact with.

Child arrangements orders were introduced in April 2014 to replace residence orders and contact orders.

Child arrangements orders are most commonly used to set out arrangements between parents as to where a child should live, and when they should spend time with their other parent. They are also used to order that a child lives with another family member or friend. Parents do not lose parental responsibility when a child arrangements order says their child should live with someone else.

A child arrangements order may say a child is to live with more than one person. For example, when two people are raising the child at separate addresses for different parts of the week. Or if the grandparents and a parent are raising the child together at the same address.

A child arrangements order gives parental responsibility to the person it says the child will live with (if they do not already have it). This means they can make most day-to-day decisions about the child’s upbringing (e.g. about school trips and medical treatment) without always having to refer back to the parents or other people with parental responsibility.

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