If you and your cohabiting partner have children, making arrangements for them in the event of relationship breakdown is likely to, understandably, take precedence over everything else.

Deciding how the responsibility for childcare is to be shared can be a sensitive topic that requires a lot of thought and consideration, and any decisions must be made with the child's best interests in mind. If you and your partner are struggling to come to an agreement over child arrangements, then the matter may need to be taken to the courts. When doing so, it is important that you receive the legal advice of an experienced family lawyer to help make sure that everyone's interests, especially those of the child, are well looked after.

Featuring many family lawyers, Oratto can help separating cohabiting couples find the right legal expert. Our experienced members can assist you with reaching a fair decision over your children's family arrangements, making sure that whatever the outcome, the welfare of the children is put at the forefront.

A family lawyer can advise on the following orders:

Parental responsibility order

Having parental responsibility means that you are entitled to have a say in the child's upbringing, including matters relating to their home, health, money, and education. Birth mothers, fathers who were married to mothers at the time of the child's birth, and civil partners of mothers at the time of birth all have automatic parental responsibility.

Unlike the birth mother, a biological father will not necessarily have automatic parental responsibility. He will only have it if he was married to the mother when the child was born or if he was registered, or re-registered, on the child's birth certificate after 1 December 2003. He may also make a formal parental responsibility agreement with the mother.

However, during the difficult time of a dispute, a mother may choose not to grant the father parental responsibility. If this is the case, he has the option of applying for a parental responsibility order through the courts. A judge will then decide whether it's in the child's best interest for him to have parental responsibility.

A family law solicitor can help unmarried fathers negotiate with mothers to allow them a fair say over their child, protecting their rights as a parent. A parent's cohabiting same-sex partner who still wants to be involved with the child after a separation will have to go through the same process.

Regardless of whether they possess parental responsibility or with whom the children live with, both parents will be responsible for financially supporting them after a separation.

Child arrangements orders

A child arrangements order sets out where the child lives, and who they can have contact with and when. The orders can be made to include other family members, such as grandparents, and will specify the exact form of contact each person can have with the child. For instance, it can stipulate how long and often a parent or guardian can speak with the child on the phone, see them in person, or write them letters.  Child arrangement orders and creating a secure situation for your child

Make the best arrangements for your children with Oratto's family lawyers

When a separation is liable to affect the well-being of either one child or more, the assistance of an accomplished family lawyer is recommended to ensure that the situation is approached with the care it requires and that rightful resolution is reached for all parties.

Our featured lawyers have years of experience as family law specialists. Search through our member profiles to find a local lawyer who will give you all the advice and guidance you need. Alternatively, call our helpful team and we will put you in touch with the solicitor we feel best matches your requirements.