Child Contact and Residence Dispute Solicitors

When parents separate, children are often caught in the middle of disputes about who they should live with (custody) and how much time (contact) they should spend with the other parent. Such disputes can be fraught with tension and it is often the children at the centre of the dispute who suffer the most if an agreement cannot be reached.

Disputes over child arrangements

Child arrangement disputes can take a range of forms. You may feel that your relationship with your child has been deliberately or maliciously obstructed. Or maybe a former partner has stopped your child from living with you.

It’s only natural that you will both have differing opinions about what you believe is best for your children. Family mediation and negotiation with legal advice won’t change that, but it could help you find a middle ground. Our specialist child contact solicitors can help you to get to the point of working towards a compromise that you both agree to. In our experience, most parents are prepared to negotiate if the outcome is in the best interests of their child.

Disputes over child contact can be immensely frustrating, especially for the person who has been excluded. However, in our experience, most parents are prepared to negotiate if the outcome is in the best interests of their child.

I’m being refused contact with my child. What are my options?

If the contact dispute cannot be resolved between you and your former partner, through a parenting plan or a mediation session, a specialist child contact solicitor can set out your options and advise you on applying for a Child Arrangements Order.

There are various types of Order, all of which need to be applied for through the Family Court, and so it’s important to seek legal advice before going down this route.

If there has been any domestic abuse or there is a risk of harm to the children, a family solicitor can apply to the Court to issue urgent proceedings in appropriate cases.

What is a Child Arrangements Order?

A Child Arrangements Order is a legal order relating to a child’s residence and with whom they have contact. It can set out where and with whom the child lives, and who they get to spend time with. For example, the Order may decide that the child lives predominantly with one parent but can spend a number of days a week or a month with the other.

How long does a Child Arrangements Order last?

When a standalone Child Arrangements Order is made that relates to contact, it applies until the child turns 16 years old, unless exceptional circumstances apply. After the age of 16, the child is legally able to decide where they wish to live unless there is a Child Arrangements Order relating to the person the child should reside with that specifies otherwise.

Other court orders relating to children

Specific Issue Order

A Specific Issue Order looks at more specific elements and decisions about how a child is brought up. For example, the school they go to, and the type of school, or whether they should undergo medical treatment.

Prohibited Steps Order

A Prohibited Steps Order (PSO) prevents one parent from doing something. This can include taking the child out of the country, moving schools and removing them from school without consent.

Once a PSO is issued, the parent who wants to take one of these actions must apply to the court for permission if the other parent has not given their consent.

Contact our child contact dispute solicitors in Bristol

Our child contact solicitors recognise that every relationship is different and a collaborative approach to resolving child contact disputes does not work for everyone.

Our specialist children lawyers will be able to provide you with specific advice tailored to the specific circumstances of your situation, so as to ensure that the approach you take achieves the best possible outcome for you and your children.

To discuss a child contact dispute with our family solicitors in Bristol and South Gloucestershire, call 0117 325 2929 or complete our online contact form. Alternatively, get started online.


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    • "From my initial appointment everyone has been so friendly and approachable. Charmaine has been so supportive through a difficult and stressful time, and I am very grateful. I would highly recommend Barcan+Kirby."
      AnonChild Arrangements Client
    • "This has no doubt been the most difficult experience of my life so far and I can honestly say that you made it easier. Your advice and support has always been incredibly helpful, honest and supportive, and I cannot thank you enough for this.

      There were times I was in such a panic but it seemed you were always able to make things clear and show me the path ahead."
      AnonChild Contact Client