What is a C100 Child Arrangements Form and When Do I need One?

FamilyDivorce

  • Author Ali Carter
  • Published May 30, 2020
  • Word count 773

What is a C100 form and when do I need one?

Going through a divorce or separation can be really hard. I know, I have been through one myself and now, 10 years after setting up my own amicable divorce and family mediation service, we have helped in over 3000 clients divorce or separate as amicably as possible.

But having arguments over the child arrangements always makes matters so much harder. You can split finances in half, delay payments to one another by agreement or share assets equally. It is not as easy dividing up children as it is a pension pot!

What do I need to consider?

You should always try and look at things from the child’s point of view. It is enshrined in family law that a child’s best needs are served by regular contact with both parents. Unless they are at severe risk of harm from a parent of their household – in which case child services should almost certainly be involved – then the court are unlikely to make an order that excludes either parent from a child’s life.

So try to think how to prioritise the children in every decision you make, aligned with what the court would and would not order.

Should I talk to my children about this?

Yes, absolutely. If they are old enough, then you can certainly ask them for their input on the situation. But ultimately it is the parents who should make the final decision, taking into consideration what the children have talked to you about. Don’t make them choose between parents. In most cases if you were to go to court, the judge would order Caffcass to speak to the children to get their views. So you should do the same if not going to court.

How do we reach agreement?

If you cannot agreed between yourselves – and many parents struggle to do so when going through a divorce or separation, then you can try family mediation. It is a requirement in most cases prior to going to court to at least consider mediation by way of a Mediation Information Assessment Meeting (a MIAM). But if you can reach agreement through mediation it will be better than going to court. It allows both parents to make a decision on the way forward and also keeps matters as amicable as possible – which is really important if you are going to work together in your child’s best interests over the years.

What happens when we reach an agreement?

Once you reach agreement you can draft a parenting plan. You can ask the court to make this into a legally binding child arrangements order by consent – if the court believe it is in the best interests of the child to make such an order.

What if we cannot reach an agreement?

Having attended a MIAM or have an exemption to attend one, you can apply to the court for a Child Arrangements Order. This is done my completing a C100 form. You can complete this yourself or ask a solicitor to do it for you. They can be applied for online or by post to your local court. If you are sending by post you need to print 3 copies. The is an Ultimate Guide to Completing a Form C100 in the link at the end of this article, if you are completing it yourself.

When else can I use the C100 form?

You can use the same for if you are a grandparent who wishes to see their grandchild or if you wish the court to make your parenting agreement legally binding by consent. It can also be used in emergency application if a child is at immediate risk of harm.

What happens to the C100 once it is submitted to court?

The court will write to you both and set a date for the first hearing. The judge will consider whether court is the best place to resolve the situation and may ask for reports from Caffcass or require drug and alcohol tests. Sometimes an interim order will be put in place, until a final decision is made. In some cases the judge will adjourn matters whilst family mediation is attempted between the parents. Or the judge may send both parents on a SPIP – a Separate Parenting Information Programme run locally to you.

Where can I find out more about getting a C100 certificate and mediation?

Have a look at mediateuk.co.uk – we can help parents mediate nationally in England & Wales and we have an expedited process for going to court if mediation is really not suitable for your case.

Ali Carter Dip.M(B.inst) F.inst.Pa is the Founder & Managing Director of Divorce Ltd t/as Mediate UK. The Ultimate Guide to Completing a C100 can be found here https://www.mediateuk.co.uk/the-ultimate-guide-to-completing-a-c100-form/

You can book in a free consultation with Ali by visiting Mediate UK here: https://www.mediateuk.co.uk

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