Any parent is automatically entitled to apply for a Child Arrangements Order irrespective of whether they have parental responsibility for the child or not. If you are the guardian or special guardian for a child, you can also apply.
There are certain circumstances where an applicant will need the permission of the Court to make an application, for example grandparents or other family members. In these instances, an application will need to be made to obtain permission to make an application.
Not sure what a Child Arrangements Order is? Take a look at our blog “What is a Child Arrangements Order and Why would I Need One?”.
Who can apply for a Child Arrangements Order?
The Court has the power to make a Child Arrangements Order pursuant to section 10(1)(a) of the Children Act 1989. The legislation also sets out who can apply for an Order automatically, and those who will require “leave” i.e. the Court’s permission.
Interestingly, it is possible for the Court to make a Child Arrangements Order of its own volition. This may arise where there are ongoing proceedings, and the Court becomes concerned about the welfare of a child(ren) subject to those proceedings.
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applying for a Child Arrangements Order
As aforementioned, the following people can apply for a Child Arrangements Order in the usual way without the Court’s permission:
- Parents and step-parents;
- Special guardians;
- Anybody who has acquired parental responsibility for a child whether by an Order or a Parental Responsibility Agreement;
- Anybody who is named in a Child Arrangements Order as the person with whom that child is to live with;
- Anybody who has the consent of everybody with parental responsibility for a child;
- Where the child is under the care of the local authority, anybody who has the consent of the local authority;
- Any person with whom the child has lived with for a period of three years;
- Any person who has acquired parental responsibility for a child by being named in a Child Arrangements Order as the person with whom the child is to spend time with.
Any individuals who do not fall into one of the above categories, will need to first apply to the Court for permission. Those individuals will usually be relatives such as grandparents or other family members.
How to Apply to the Court for Permission to Apply for a Child Arrangements Order
To obtain permission to apply for a Child Arrangements Order you are required to complete and submit a C100 form. 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 must 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.
Once an application has been made, the Court will list a preliminary hearing to determine whether to grant the applicant permission to apply for a Child Arrangements Order. Every case turns on its own facts, but the Court will consider the following:
- The nature of the proposed application;
- The applicant’s connection with the child;
- Whether or not the application causes any disruption to the child’s life to such a degree that they would be harmed by the application; and
- In circumstances where the child is being looked after by the local authority, the local authorities plans for the child and the views of the parents.
The above will be at the forefront of either the Judge or bench of Magistrates when considering whether to grant the applicant leave to make an application.