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Parents need to work jointly for the benefit of their children to arrive at arrangements that are best for the child rather than for themselves.

Neither parent takes precedence over the other where child arrangements are concerned and it is a misconception to believe that the mother will have a greater right than the father in the event of a dispute.

Where parents cannot agree upon what is in the best interests of their children and family mediation does not lead to agreement being reached, then it is open to either parent to make an application to the Court under the Children Act 1989, for a Child Arrangements Order.

“Custody” is not a term that is used by the Court any longer and instead, within a Child Arrangements Order a Court will make “live with” and “spend time with” Orders.

It is perfectly possible for both parents to be granted a “live with” Order for the same child such that there is a clear recognition that the parents are of equal importance in the child’s life.

These Orders do not necessarily mean that a child’s time is to be split entirely equally between two households – although that may be the case – rather, the Court will seek to Order arrangements that best meet the needs of a particular child as against all the circumstances pertaining to that child and the child’s background and physical, emotional and educational needs amongst others.