Stowe support: What is a child arrangements order?

Children|Divorce|Family|Separation|October 9th 2018

A large part of a divorce or separation for those couples with children is to try and make the process as amicable as possible and to agree on the new arrangements moving forward.

Child arrangements can be an informal agreement, although it certainly helps to write it down. You’ll only need to go to court if you cannot agree.

In this instalment of Stowe support, we asked Rachel Fisher, Solicitor at our Bristol office to look at how to apply for a child arrangements order.

“A child arrangements order will state where a child will live, who they will spend time with and how often. For example, they may spend weeknights in the family home and weekends with their mother/father.

Before you make an application for a child arrangements order, you should try to agree on the arrangements with the other party.

You can consider preparing a parenting plan; a written statement that both parents sign up to establish the ground rules of shared parenting. You can see a sample template here.

Mediation can also assist parents in reaching an agreement in relation to arrangements for their children.

If an agreement cannot be reached, then it will be necessary to issue an application for a child arrangement order. I would strongly recommend that you undertake this process with professional legal advice.

Making an application

You will need to obtain a signed MIAM form before you are able to make an application for a child arrangements order.

An application for a child arrangements order is made on a C100 form.  This sets out the details of the children and the parties involved.  You will be asked to state which orders you are seeking and why.

You will also need to complete a C1A form if you are alleging harm and domestic violence.

Once you have completed the C100 application, you will need to send it to the court in triplicate along with the court fee which is currently £215, unless you are eligible for a fee exemption.

The application should be sent to the nearest court to where the children concerned in the application live.

Once the court receives your application, it will set a date for everyone involved in the application to have a First Hearing Dispute Resolution Appointment (FHDRA).

The court will send a copy of the application to the other party and they must complete an acknowledgement form and return it to the court to confirm that they have seen the papers.

The order can state:

  • Who the children live with
  • Where they live
  • When and how the children will see both parents

You will have to stick to whatever the court decides, even if you don’t agree with it, unless you and your ex-partner both agree to changes.

I always advise, where possible, to try and stay out of court as it is expensive, time-consuming and upsetting for the whole family.

And finally, one key message that I must give out is that in children disputes, it is important to take a long-term view and try to not get caught up in more trivial or day to day nuisance issues.”

Author: Rachel Fisher

Rachel is based at the Stowe Family Law office in Bristol. She joined the firm in February 2018. She represents clients in divorce and financial remedy proceedings. She has extensive experience of working with unmarried clients and understands the issues that cohabitants face.

Comment(1)

  1. karen says:

    What about abusive relationships when the father clearly fails to provide medical aid for the child, and court percieves the mother as the problem (this has happened throughout the childs life but gps and dentists have missed his behaviour and abruptness. The nurse who questioned him and was involved in a heated argument about the childs wellbeing was reproached.
    What about when the mother is the person who seeks urgent medical /dental treatment when the child is returned on numerous occassions (6 occassion I can immediately recall with photographic evidence of swollen faces and mouth abscesses). How is the mother supposed to care for a child she knows is being neglected but she herself is being isolated from her child, both the school, and Court deny. After all daddy is a member of the Church, a man who was declined ordination once they were shown the MARAC for domestic abuse. A man who doesnt work and financially provided for the child. But who demands monies from the working ex-wife whom he left all family debts in her name.
    How is that good for the child to see a her father who doesnt work, who she is frightened of his temper. She sees a mum who works hard who takes her to the dentist to treat decayed teeth, to the gp for concern of her malnurition frame. A mum who washes her clothes and baths her and cares for her. What will she think when she know her mum is isolated from her she cant talk to her, when she is sad or upset, when she is told not to think about her mum, you dont need her.

    I see another damaged girl about to self harm, with food issues, being bullied and controlled and I see the cycle of abuse starting all over again. And the Court says a child needs to have contact with its father and isolation from its mother. What kind of a society are we in when we are still say domestic abuse and coercive control isnt happening. Its being addressed we are bringing it out in the open, you are not, you are exaccerbating it, causing a perptual loop, where women are not only being controllled by their abuser but the law and courts that are supposed to be helping the victim, the child.

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