Child Arrangements,
Co-Parenting and
Parenting Plans

We are child-focused lawyers, who place the best interests of the child at the centre of our advice. Our advice draws on years of experience, and we offer practical solutions that aim to minimise distress caused to children. We will give you clear and responsive advice in emergency situations.

Parental Responsibility

Parental responsibility is the legal term used for the obligations and rights parents have in respect of their child. You and your former partner are likely to share parental responsibility for the child, whatever the living arrangements. This should mean you are both involved in all major decisions such as those about the child’s health, education, and religion.

Mothers automatically have parental responsibility for their child. A father has parental responsibility if he: 

  1. Is married to the child’s mother;
  2. Is named as the child’s father on their birth certificate;
  3. Has obtained a court order which grants him parental responsibility; or
  4. Has entered into a parental responsibility agreement stating that he has parental responsibility.

In most circumstances, same-sex partners will both have parental responsibility if they were married or civil partners at the time of the treatment which lead to conception. For same-sex partners who aren’t married or civil partners, the second parent can obtain parental responsibility by either applying for parental responsibility, or by becoming a spouse or civil partner of the other parent and making a parental responsibility agreement.

The right to spend time with your child

It is extremely rare for one parent to have no right to see their child post-separation.  As a general principle, the court considers that it is in a child’s best interests to spend regular time with both parents.  The amount of time depends on the particular circumstances of the family, which may change over time. Depending on their age and maturity, the child’s wishes and feelings are usually taken into account.

We can assist you if:

  1. You have separated from your partner and would like advice as to the options for you and your child post-separation;
  2. Your former partner is not supportive of the time you spend with your child;
  3. You are not supportive of the time your former partner spends with your child, perhaps due to serious welfare concerns, and you would like advice as to your options; or
  4. Your former partner cannot agree where and with whom your child should live, or you cannot agree on certain major decisions in the child’s life, for example, education or health related decisions.
How to agree child arrangements and the different options

Some parents are able to agree child arrangements without the assistance of lawyers. If you and your former partner agree the arrangements for the child, you may wish to record your agreement in a Parenting Plan.


If you and your former partner cannot agree what the child arrangements should be, we may suggest that you both attend mediation. Mediation is often the most cost-effective option.


Alternatively, it may be more appropriate for us to liaise with your former partner, or their lawyer, on your behalf, and advance your proposals in the hope of reaching an agreement.


In the event that you and your former partner cannot reach an agreement between you, it may be necessary to ask the court for assistance. We can assist you with navigating the court process, handle the day-to-day running of your case, and if appropriate, arrange for you to be represented in court by a barrister.

Emergency and preventative action

If you fear that your child is at risk of being removed from the country by your former partner, it is important that you seek advice as quickly as possible. We can assist you with applying for a Prohibited Steps Order which prevents the removal of a child from England and Wales.

A Prohibited Steps Order can also be used to stop the other parent exercising other elements of their parental responsibility, for example, by preventing them from removing a child from their school, from changing the child’s name without the permission of you or the court.

We recognise that every situation is different, and you will be supported by highly experienced lawyers who will provide you with clear legal and practical advice together with the support you need to enable you to move to the next stage in your life.

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    Parental Alienation

    Have you wondered why your child expresses a strong and unjustified dislike towards you?

    While there are numerous reasons for this, a more common but unknown cause is parental alienation.

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