If you and your former spouse or partner cannot reach an agreement relating to your child arrangement, then Major Family Law can help you to resolve your differences swiftly and with the least amount of bitterness.

We are one of the leading family law firms in Newcastle Upon Tyne and the north east, with a team of expert family lawyers and child solicitors. We support parents in resolving their child arrangement situations in a time-efficient and cost effective manner.

In April 2014, the ‘Child Arrangements Programme’ was introduced to govern how parental disputes over arrangements for children should be dealt with.

The programme promotes direct negotiation and agreement between the parents wherever possible and minimises the delay in resolving the issue where agreement cannot be reached.

If the Family Court is required to decide the issue and to make an Order setting out the future arrangements, then it has the power to make one or more of the following orders:-

  • Child Arrangements Order. Child Arrangements Orders have replaced Residence and Contact Orders. A Child Arrangements Order can set out with whom a child should live, spend time with or otherwise have contact with. They can be granted to more than one person whether they live together or not. Contact with a child can either be direct e.g. face to face meetings or indirect e.g. by exchange of cards.
  • Specific Issue order. Specific Issue orders deal with issues such as schooling, the surname the child is known by or other one-off issues such as consent to non-urgent medical treatment, consent to leave the county to move abroad etc;
  • Prohibited Steps orders. Prohibited Steps orders restrict how a mother or father exercises his/her Parental Responsibility;
  • Parental Responsibility Order. Parental Responsibility Orders give a person (other than the mother or a father who has Parental Responsibility) legal status as a parent – which means that this person has a legal duty.

It is expected that, as parents, you will endeavour to take every possible step to resolve your differences without having to resort to Family Court proceedings. If you seek our advice, we will advise you on all the available procedures open to you to support you towards reaching an agreement, such as mediation and collaborative law. If you are unable to resolve your differences in this way, you will still be expected to attend a Mediation Information Assessment Meeting (MIAM) before you are entitled to apply to the Court for an Order.

Specific Issue and Prohibited Steps Orders, however, can involve emergency court proceedings as sometimes action has to be undertaken swiftly to maintain the status quo until the court has had an opportunity of investigating matters. In such cases, the required referral to mediation or other dispute resolution services may be dispensed with.

As experts in our field, more than 80% of our cases are successfully resolved without ever having to resort to Court proceedings, and we will endeavour to achieve the same for you. If Court proceedings are unavoidable, then we are committed to represent you in the Family Court and achieve the best possible outcome for you.


Watch a video by Associate Solicitor, Stacy Williams, regarding changing a child arrangements order: