Ex-partners cannot always agree on child arrangements despite getting help or using mediation. In this case, you can use a court order to get an agreement on parenting plans.
So, you tried other methods to reach an agreement on child arrangements and they all failed, including mediation.
The next step is to apply for a court order before your case ends up in the courts for a decision.
In most cases, you must first attend a meeting about mediation (MIAM). But, some exceptions apply (e.g. cases involving domestic abuse).
You would usually need to attend a court appointment and several court hearings. The court may ask you try mediation again or attend a course that specialises in resolving relationship issues.
There is more than one type of court order available. The one you need will depend on what you cannot reach an agreement on. Even so, you can apply for several court orders if you need to.
The purpose of a 'child arrangements order' is to determine an agreement on the proposals for a child's residence and contact. Thus, this type of court order would decide:
Note: The 'child arrangements orders' have now replaced the outdated ‘contact orders' and 'residence orders'. You may need to use a solicitor for legal advice but there is no need for parents to re-apply.
A child's upbringing is the main subject of a 'specific issue order'. The court uses this type of order to address specific issues about how the child is being brought up. Typical examples include:
Note: Applying for a 'prohibited steps order' will stop the other parent making a decision about the upbringing of the child.
Only certain people can apply for a court order to make parenting arrangements. You must either be the mother or father of the child or have parental rights and responsibility.
Note: Other people can apply for these types of court orders (e.g. a grandparent). But, they would need to get permission from the courts before making an application.
Types of Court Orders When Ex-Partners Can't Agree on Child Arrangements