When an application is made to the court a Child Arrangements Order can determine who a child will ‘live with’ – this used to be known as Residence, and with whom they will ‘spend time’ – previously known as Contact. These types of Orders can cover the day to day care of the child, but also special times such as birthdays, holidays and Christmas.
When making an application to court, parents should first try and agree the arrangements, and this can be achieved at family mediation. If an agreement cannot be reached, an application can be made to Court for a Child Arrangements Order.
An application is made to the court on a form C100, this form sets out the details of the parties involved and the children. In this form you are asked to state what orders you are seeking. It is important to consider accessing legal advice before making this application. There is a separate form to complete if you allege harm or domestic violence.
Once the court has processed the application, the matter is listed for a hearing known as a First Hearing Dispute Resolution Appointment. (FHDRA). The court will send a copy of the application to the other party and they should complete an acknowledgement form and return it to the court to confirm that they have seen the papers. Your matter is then before a Court and subject to a court timetable.
The court have powers to make a variety of orders in the child’s best interest and will be concerned to uphold the welfare of the child with regard to certain statutory factors. Court proceedings can be protracted and expensive, and legal advice is recommended.
At Onions & Davies solicitors we can advise and assist you in these matters, as Resolution members we aim to deal with matters in the most amicable way possible, and advocate that parents should be the ones who make the decisions for their children. We endeavour to provide pragmatic advice to help guide parents through what can be a very difficult and emotional time, so that they can make the best decisions for themselves and their family.
If you wish to access family mediation, our Family mediator Louise Martin is Resolution trained and experienced in mediating children issues.
To obtain advice by appointment please do not hesitate to contact the family team on 01630 652405.
By Kim Mapperson, Solicitor