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Many may have suggested you to apply for C100 court orders. But in circumstances where children are involved, the issue becomes very delicate and difficult to handle. Whatever be the case, we will help you understand it in a simple and easy language to assist you in taking right decisions.

What is C100 Form? – Applying for Child Arrangements

What is the C100 Court Form?

C100 form is the court form used to apply for the custody of the children. Parents or guardians need to apply (using the C100 form) to the courts for a residency order for children. C100 form is usually used to seek a Child Arrangement Order relating to children or grandchildren. When there are no other case related to guardianship of children is in process then, C100 form is most commonly applied form in England and Wales for Orders in the family courts.

Generally, first there are attempts from court side to engage in mediation to resolve the issues (however, if there is evidence of domestic violence then this mediation is not needed). It is a universal belief and there are proofs available, where it is found that mediation are very effective way to resolve issues in such cases.

The application with the support of Ministry of Justice encourages the applicants to consider mediation to resolve the problems between parties involved in the conflict. Involving some exceptions, the process includes meeting the mediator and discussing the possibilities of reaching a solution in child issues through dialogues.

Use of C100 Custody Court Form

The C100 custody court form is used to apply for the following types of court orders:

  1. Child Arrangement Order – This order covers the child’s residency and contact that is where the child lives and people with whom the child spends time with (previously known as residence and contact orders)
  2. Prohibited Steps Order – This order is to stop any action against the child, in spite of parental responsibilities.
  3. Specific Issue Order – This is for giving direction in respect to a specific issue of parental accountability.

Cost of C100 Form

The current fee to lodge this application is fixed at £215.

Making Arrangements for Children

You as parents have can make choice on making arrangement for looking after your children after you separation from your partner.

What separating parents do is different in Northern Ireland and Scotland.

After separation you can normally avoid the hassle of visiting court orf hearings if you and your ex-partner/spouse agree on below mentioned:

  • You decide where the children will reside or what will be there contact address.
  • You decide when and how you and your ex will spend time with children or how children would spend time with both the parents.

If you want this agreement to be legally binding then contact a solicitor for the same. You can decide on child maintenance during the same time or at some other time as per you convenience.

Mediation for Agreement

The parenting plan can be either done with your ex-spouse or partner or you can take help of a mediator, who can also be a solicitor.

Also try these alternatives for agreement help:

  • If there are organisations in your locality helping in parenting plan approach them
  • You can take advice from citizens

What if you are unable to agree on everything?

Court is the last and most ideal solution to reach a decision where you find difficult to agree on everything. If you are unable to decide after mediation or getting other alternative help then ask the court.

You will have to show you have attended mediation sessions to resolve the problems before applying to court. You may not have to in case where there has been domestic abuse or social welfares are involved. Usually, if you are not separating from an abusive partner then legal aids do not bear the court costs.

What if both the Partners Make Agreements on Everything?

If both the parents are able to make agreements on child arrangement and maintenance then you will not require doing any official paperwork. You can maintain a record by writing down what you have agreed on in a Parenting Plan. Additionally, you can take help of a solicitor if you want the agreement to be legally binding.

The order is made by the judge or magistrate only if they find it to be in child’s best interests.

Legally Binding Agreement

If you want a legally binding agreement then find a solicitor to draft a ‘consent order’.

Consent order is a legal document and includes details about the arrangement agreements made by you and your ex partner for the children’s upbringing. The order is legal confirmation of your agreement.

  • Where the children will live
  • When, how and with whom they spend time
  • What other alternatives of contacting can be made possible (phone calls, etc.)

Both the separated parents have to sign the draft consent order. And lastly, you will require an approval of your consent order.

How to Get Your Consent Order Approved?

You and your ex spouse or partner will have to fill the C100 court order form. If you find difficulty in filling the form you can take help from your solicitor.

You will have to tick the box to make it evident that you are applying to legalise your consent order. There is no need to prove that you have tried for mediation. After filling the C100 form send all it to the nearest court that deals with children’s cases along with 3 copies of the form and your drafted consent order. Do not forget to keep copies of the drafted consent order and C100 form with your before submitting. You will have to pay court fee of £215. If you have low income and you are on benefits then you may get help with court fees.

After court gets your paperwork usually there is no hearing. A judge will approve your consent paper and make it legally binding if your decisions are found in the interest of the children. If judge does not find your consent order on the interest of the children then he can, change your consent order or even draft a different court order deciding what is in the best interest of your children.

What if You Directly Apply for Court Order?

Directions hearing will be arrange by the court with both parents if they apply for a court order. In the cases involving children usually there is a family court adviser from the CAFCASS (Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service) at the hearing. It is the responsibility of the CAFCASS to inform you about the bearing and they keep you informed by ringing you too.

During the hearing, a judge or a magistrate will try to make agreements from both sides:

  • What you agree on
  • What you are unable to agree
  • If the children is at risk or if the decision made is in the children’s interest.

Judges and magistrates tries to help you reach an agreement that is in the best interest of the children. If you can make early agreements and there are no risks involved with the children, the process ends.

Finally, the court will make a consent order with all the decision made during the hearing, if needed.

Factors Considered by Judges and Magistrates

Welfare of the children is their first priority. So if parents decide to take help of the court, they will think about the:

  • Wishes and feelings of the children
  • Educational, emotional and physical needs of the children
  • How children will be affected on any changes happening in their life
  • Age, gender, background and characteristics of children are taken into account
  • Possibility of risk to the children
  • Ability of parents to meet the necessities of the children
  • What all orders the court possess the power to make

What if Agreements Not Made at the First Court Hearing?

Timetable for next move will be set by the judge or magistrate. Possibility is they will ask both parents to try to reach for an agreement, take help from advisors or mediator for a solution. The moment both you and your ex partner/spouse reaches an agreement the process will be ended by the judge or magistrate.

Have a query or need help with form C100? Get in touch with DNS Accountants.

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