Q&As

Can the court make a child arrangements order (CAO) when the parents are still living together in the same home? If they then continue to live together for six months after the CAO is made, would the CAO cease to have effect?

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Produced in partnership with Tori Adams of 4 King’s Bench Walk
Published on LexisPSL on 29/08/2019

The following Family Q&A Produced in partnership with Tori Adams of 4 King’s Bench Walk provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Can the court make a child arrangements order (CAO) when the parents are still living together in the same home? If they then continue to live together for six months after the CAO is made, would the CAO cease to have effect?

A child arrangements order (CAO) is an order made by the court under section 8 of the Children Act 1989 (ChA 1989). A CAO sets out with whom a child, or children, should live, and when they are to live, spend time or otherwise have contact with any person. ChA 1989, s 8(1) specifically states:

‘(1) In this Act—

"child arrangements order" means an order regulating arrangements relating to any of the following—

(a)with whom a child is to live, spend time or otherwise have contact, and

(b)when a child is to live, spend time or otherwise have contact with any person;’

If a party wishes to have a CAO in place, they can apply to the court, however in accordance with ChA 1989, s 1(5) the court must not make the order unless it considers that doing so would be better for the child than making no order at all, see Practice Note: The no order principle.

ChA 1989, s 9 sets out the restrictions to making such an order, which include in respect

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