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How to apply for a Child Arrangements Order?

View profile for Hannah Craven
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To apply a Child Arrangements Order, the law requires you to first attend a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting, often referred to as a MIAM. This is a meeting with a qualified mediator who will inform you about forms of alternative dispute resolution and ways in which to resolve your dispute out of the Court arena. The mediator will assess whether mediation is suitable.

If you do not wish to pursue mediation and want to continue with making an application to Court, the mediator will provide you with the requisite form C100.

How to apply for a Child Arrangements Order?

Before an application to Court can be made for a Child Arrangements Order, you must first attend a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting. As lawyers, we refer to this as a MIAM. Put simply, it involves a meeting with a qualified mediator who will consider whether it would be possible to resolve the issues outside of Court.

There is usually a fee of around £100.00 plus VAT for the MIAM which will be paid upfront. However, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the government introduced the Family Mediation Voucher Scheme which provides a financial contribution of up to £500.00 towards the cost of mediation.

If the mediator considers that the case is not suitable for mediation, they will provide you with the requisite form which will need to accompany the C100 application form.

The C100 form is the form that must be completed to formally make an application to court for a Child Arrangements Order. This form can be completed online via the link below.

Click here to access the C100 form on the gov.uk website.

This is the formal application form to request a Court to make child arrangements and it is this same form you should complete if you require permission to make the application. All you are required to do is check the appropriate box on the form that asks, “Are you asking for permission to make this application, where that is required?” and subsequently complete a further section within the form giving your reasons for asking for permission.

It cannot be emphasised enough that an application to Court should always be a last resort. Court proceedings are lengthy and costly.  Even if mediation is deemed unsuitable, there are other forms of dispute resolution available including Arbitration and Collaborative Law.

 

How Long Does a C100 application Take?

Usually, your application for a Child Arrangements Order when using the C100 form will take between 4 and 6 weeks to complete. If you are raising welfare concerns, then a form C1A then these matters will likely be dealt with sooner.

Can a C100 Form be Rejected?

It is a requirement that you attend a MIAM (Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting) prior to making your C100 application. Without the requisite form from a Mediator confirming that mediation is not suitable, your C100 application will be rejected and you’ll be advised to attend a MIAM before proceeding.

How Much Does a C100 Form application Cost?

When submitting your C100 Form, and therefore your application for a court to make a Child Arrangements order, you are required to pay the court fee of £232 (correct as of May 2022). A solicitor can assist you with this and therefore additional costs may be incurred.

How much does an application cost?

The application will be completed by using the Form C100. Historically, this was always submitted as a paper application to the Court. However, it is now possible to complete the application digitally via the government website (although a printable version is still available on the gove.uk website).

When submitting the C100 form, there is a Court fee of £232.00 (unless you are exempt from paying Court fees) which will need to be paid at the time of submitting your application.

If you are raising concerns that a child has suffered, or is at risk of suffering, domestic abuse or violence, then you will need to complete Form C1A and file this with the Court at the same time as the C100.
 

What happens after the application has been issued?

Once the application has been made, the Court will seal and date the application. They will then serve a copy of the application on the Respondent unless you have specifically requested that they don’t.

The Court will then list the application for a FHDRA ‘First Hearing Dispute Resolution Appointment’ which are usually listed within four to six weeks of the application being issued. There is exception to this rule where applications are made on an emergency or urgent basis, in which the Court will list a hearing usually within a matter of days.

Prior to the FHDRA, Cafcass will undertake safeguarding checks, make enquiries, and inform the Court of any risk of harm to the child. The safeguarding enquiries include making checks of the Local Authorities and Police. They will then conduct a telephone interview with both parties.

If you are looking to make an application to Court and require assistance, please do not hesitate to contact our team. We can help guide you through the process and can even help with mediation, which is required prior to making an application.
 



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About Hannah Craven

Hannah is a Family Law Solicitor at Thornton Jones Solicitors. Hannah joined Thornton Jones in early 2017 after gaining valuable experience at both Irwin Mitchell and Stewarts Law. She commenced her training to become a Solicitor in early November 2017 and qualified as a Solicitor in June 2019. She subsequently joined the Family Law team here at Thornton Jones and specialises in helping couples navigate the Court process when separating and divorcing.