A child arrangements order is an order from the Court setting out arrangements for your child to live and have contact time with both parents. It is not compulsory to have a child arrangements order to provide you with access to your child. Parenting agreements and contact can normally be agreed between the parents.
You will only need to apply for a child arrangements order if you cannot agree as parents, of if you feel your child or grandchild is being prevented from seeing you.
If alternatives to a court application ( including a solicitor’s letter or referral to mediation if appropriate) do not work or are not appropriate, an application to the court on your behalf and arrange for this to be issued and served upon the other party before arranging representation at the first court hearing. This is the first stage. Often matters can be agreed and concluded at the first hearing.
If not, there will be further stages in the court timetable which can include including your evidence in the form of statements and/or the preparation of a report by an officer of Cafcass (the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service).
A Cafcass officer can be ordered by the court to make recommendations to the court to assist the court in making an order This is the second stage and would include at least one further court hearing. The third and final stage would be the final hearing at which time the court will consider all evidence before making a final decision and imposing a settlement.