Child Arrangement Order Guidance

Our pricing where we are instructed for you in a private law application under the Children Act 1989 for a Child Arrangement Order 

A child arrangement order (previously known as child contact and child resident orders) will decide where a child lives, when they spend time with each parent and the other mediums of contact where a complete breakdown in the parents relationship has occured. 

We encourage the parties to first participate in mediation to resolve matters amicably if possible, not least for the sake of the children, beforeapplying to court for access of a child. Indeed, you are obliged to attempt mediation before making an application to court. The cost of mediation does not form part of our fees and those fees will be payable by you direct to the mediator.

Our fees are as follows:

For an application to the Family Court for a Child Arrangement Order up to and including the first hearing estimated between £500 and £1000 excluding v.a.t. and expenses .

Factors that could make a case more complex and therefore increase the fees:

  • Where the nature of the application is urgent;
  • Where the application is contested by the Respondent;
  • Where there are safeguarding issues in relation to the children;
  • Where there are allegations of domestic abuse involving a fact-finding hearing;
  • Where the court requires a Section 7 Report from CAFCASS (stands for Children and Family Court Advisory Support Service);
  • The number of witnesses and/or documents

Our estimated fees for a medium complexity case:between £3,000-£5,000 excluding v.a.t and expenses;

Our estimated fees for a high complexity case: between £5,000 - £10,000 excluding v.a.t. and expenses.


Disbursements are expenses we incur on your behalf payable to third parties. For example:

  • Court fees
  • Process servers fees (for personal service of court papers where required)
  • Fees payable to counsel for advice and/or representation at court
  • Travel to court and car parking

Where appropriate, we may uses the services of a barrister ( counsel ) for advice and/or representation in which case the choice of barrister will be made in consultation with yourself . The barrister’s fees will depend on the type of case/ hearing and seniority of the barrister in question.A barrister will usually charge between £1,000- £1,500 plus vat per day .

Key stages of an application for a Child Arrangements Order

The fees set out above cover all of the work in relation to the following key stages of an application:

  • Taking your initial instructions;
  • Referral to mediation unless you choose to self-refer;
  • Preparation of your application to the Family Court;
  • Taking witness statements, drafting statements and agreeing their content with witnesses;
  • Preparation of bundles of documents for the  court hearing(s);
  • Reviewing and advising on the other parties’ witness statements;
  • Reviewing and advising on the contents of the Section 7 CAFCASS report;
  • Preparation and attendance at the court hearing(s)including (where applicable) brief to counsel

How long does an application for a Child Arrangements Order take?

A contested application is likely in most cases to involve several hearings at various stages at which the court will give case management directions.

The case will take longer where a fact-finding hearing is involved where there are allegations of domestic abuse. The case will also take longer where the Court orders a Section 7 Report from CAFCASS.

The first hearing of the application usually takes place within 4 weeks. If contested, the case may take 6 months to reach a final hearing.   We will be able to give you a more accurate timescale as the matter progresses.


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