Non-Traditional Options For Child Arrangement Orders

A married couple who has opted for divorce or separation will also have to consider how their decision will affect their children. The law will ensure that your children’s rights are protected and see that both parties will maintain a relationship with the child and provide economic and financial support. In family law, the goal is to prioritise the child’s best interests.


Anything that concerns residence, contacts, access, resources, and custody is under child arrangement orders. These are agreements between both parents regarding plans and commitments that will guarantee that they and their extended family will spend time with the child. Although the court traditionally settles custody disputes, there are several options that parents can pursue in making child arrangements. Below are three examples of non-traditional options: family mediation, four-way negotiations with solicitors, and arbitration.

Family Mediation

Using family mediation is a productive alternative to using family law courts. It involves having a neutral third person (some use friends, family members, or religious leaders, but it’s more advisable to hire a professional mediator) mediate the conversation. Some couples prefer this as it ensures privacy and resolves disputes at their terms, rather than having a judge dictate the consequences. 

The problem with family mediation is that its resolutions are not legally binding and may have shaky grounds for potential “breaches” in the future. However, should you want to make your decisions binding, you may do so by meeting with an accredited family mediator and submit an application to the court for a consent order regarding your agreed child arrangements.


Ideally, a couple going through divorce or separation should have amicable agreements regarding childcare plans without needing to file for court applications. If there are irresolvable disputes or if one party is not being cooperative, family solicitors can assist with court applications. 

Solicitors can act and speak on behalf of you as a private client. Those specialising in family law can provide legal advice and provide representation should the case be brought to court. If, however, there is no need for a court hearing, your solicitors can arrange negotiations with the solicitors representing the other party. In comparison to family mediation, having solicitors will make your decisions legally binding.


Arbitration is another private process that parents can consider for child arrangements. Unlike in family mediation, where the mediator is simply there to steer the discussions in the right direction and make sure each party benefits from each decision, arbitration allows the neutral arbitrator to decide the disputes.

Arbitration is closer to a court trial where parties have to make opening statements and present collected evidence to the arbitrator. They are, however, less formal and can be over with quickly compared to traditional trials. The arbitrator is not required to apply governing laws or follow rules of evidence. These decisions can either be binding or non-binding — the couple may choose to comply with the arbitrator’s decision on their own or file an application for a child arrangement order that follows the guidelines of the arbitrator’s decision.

About Mohit Tater

Mohit is the co-founder and editor of Entrepreneurship Life, a place where entrepreneurs, start-ups, and business owners can find wide ranging information, advice, resources, and tools for starting, running, and growing their businesses.