Get in touch
0800 292 2000

Amending a Child Arrangement Order

September 18, 2020 Family Law

September 18, 2020 

Anyone with an interest in the child can apply for a child Contact Order. Formerly known as ‘access’. A child contact order regulates how long and how often a child should have contact with and how often a child spends time with the other parent who does not have full residence of the child.

Child arrangement orders

A Child Arrangement Order (CAO) is a legal order issued by family court where the court decides arrangements for the residence, contact, and other aspects of the upbringing and wellbeing of a child.

These orders are typically made in cases where parents or guardians cannot reach an informal agreement between both parties and need to seek legal advice regarding the child arrangements orders. In such orders the family court intervenes to make the final decision in the best interests of the child.

Amending a Child Arrangement Order involves making changes to the pre-existing order. Although this is only considered in limited circumstances if the original child arrangement order seems to be working.

This could be necessary for various reasons, such as changes in circumstances, the needs of the child evolving, or one or both parents seeking modifications to the arrangements.

The process for amending a Child Arrangement Order may vary depending on the jurisdiction, but it generally involves both parties filing an application with all the relevant details going to the court and demonstrating a significant change in circumstances that justifies the modification that reflect the best interests of the child.

Amending child arrangement orders- discussed

Last week, Trainee Solicitor Amina Amin, took part in The Law Society’s weekly #SolicitorChat on Twitter. Following her insightful answers, Amina scooped first prize, winning a donation to our charity partner, SAMH.

The topic up for discussion last week was Amending a child arrangement order. With children beginning to return to school, many parents and guardians may be discussing parental responsibility of their child and may be considering making amends to their current child arrangement orders.

But what steps should they take to ensure the changes are legally binding? And how can legal representation help guardians to find an agreement which works for both parties?

If you are considering child arrangement orders, Amina’s winning answers are below:

What steps should parents/guardians take when amending a child arrangements order?

Varying a court order can be complex depending on terms that need to be varied and the reason for doing so. Given this, it is important that the parent/guardian takes time to think about what terms of the order they would like to amend and the reasonable excuse for doing so.

Secondly, if a solicitor is instructed, the parent/guardian should arrange a meeting with their solicitor to discuss their concerns.

Thirdly, the parent must ensure that the changes they do seek are in fact in the best interest of the child.

Do the parents/guardians need to attend mediation before amending a child arrangement order?

Whilst in Scotland mediation is not a requirement, it is in fact encouraged by solicitors. Mediation allows parents/guardians to come to mutual agreement and a practical solution in an environment that is safe and comfortable.

However, it is important to note that that the Courts in Scotland can grant an order requiring both parties to attend mediation if the Sheriff finds that this is necessary to resolve issues.

What are the main things parents/guardians need to consider before making an application to the court to vary a child arrangement order?

Separated parents may want to change an existing court order for many reasons. Before proceeding with this there are three important points to remember:

  • Firstly, is the amendment in the best interest of the child?
  • Secondly, is there any way in which both parties agree and a decision can be reached between both parties through alternative dispute resolution methods such as mediation?
  • Thirdly, is the varying of the court orders necessary?

What will the court take into consideration when reviewing an application to vary child arrangement orders?

The paramount factor that the court will consider is whether the application to vary the child arrangement order is, in fact, in the best interest of the child.

The court will have regard to whether the change will benefit the child as well as the effect this will have on the child’s welfare, development and the child’s upbringing.

The Court can be hesitant to vary an existing order if it appears to be working well for the child.

What advantages does a Child arrangement order offer?

In these proceedings, the Court places utmost importance on the child’s well-being. Thoughtfully structured child arrangements contribute to stability, benefiting not just the involved parties but also the children involved.

Why is it important to seek expert advice from a solicitor when amending a child arrangement order?

Seeking professional advice at the earliest opportunity from a expert family law solicitor is of upmost importance when thinking about varying a child arrangement order including providing information on mediation information assessment meeting.

Your instructed Family Solicitor will be provide legal representation ad and will able to advise the next steps which are best suited to your family situation and help you to get the order resolved quickly.

Our Family Department here at Jones Whyte understand how stressful and worrying varying a court order may be.

We take time to provide our clients with not only, thorough legal advice but are also there to provide you with the support you require during an understandably difficult situation & help find proactive solutions to address your concerns helping to work towards the best possible child arrangements for both parties and for your child.

Contact us

At Jones Whyte, our family law team has extensive experience. Whatever you are going through, contact our solicitors for straightforward, empathetic separation advice today.

If you have any questions regarding a child arrangement order or any areas of family law, then contact our expert team family law team today. Call 0141 375 1222, email or fill in our online contact form.

Contact Us

Speak to one of our experience legal team, and get responsive, clear, and straightforward legal advice and support.

Get in touch

Copyright © Jones Whyte 2024 | SC738324 | All Rights Reserved.

We are authorised and regulated by the Law Society of Scotland ( and Solicitors Regulation Authority (
A list of members of our firm is available upon request from our Registered Office at The Connect Building, 3rd Floor, 59 Bath Street, Glasgow, G2 2DH

Responsive Website Design, Development & Hosting by mtc.