child law

A parent has a right to see a child and now there is a principle of parental involvement. More importantly, however, is the child’s right to see the parent. Where parents are unable to agree the time the child will spend with the other parent, the court may have to assist and look at a contact order. The welfare of the child is the paramount consideration.

A Child Arrangement Order  (previously referred to as residence or custody; contact or access) order means an order regulating arrangements:

  • with whom a child is to live, spend time or otherwise have contact; and
  • when a child is to live, spend time or otherwise have contact with any person


A Child Arrangement Order can define the time the child will spend with the parent. It can also include holiday periods and such things as telephone, email, webcam and so on.

Care must be taken where there is an international element to the contact case to ensure, as far as possible, that the child is returned following a holiday visit. This can involve ensuring that the order is registered and recognised in the foreign court (sometimes called a ‘Mirror’ order).

James Maguire is a Fellow of the International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and is a member of the Law Society’s child abduction panel. He is also on the panel for a number of embassies (including the US Embassy and Canadian High Commission) and British Consulates overseas.

For advice from a family law specialist contact Maguire Family Law by telephone +44 (0) 1625 529456 or by email at