Making an application to court
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About the Child Arrangement Order Template
This guide has been completed in collaboration with our family law solicitors and our accredited family mediators to help you complete a Form C100. It includes example pages of a completed C100 application and takes you through each section you need to submit your C100 form to court.
We always recommend taking your own legal advice and using an experienced Resolution accredited family lawyer - but we understand that this may not always be possible.
Disclaimer: This guide to completing a form C100 does not qualify as legal advice and due to the changing nature of family law and the C100 form itself, we always recommend you take specific legal advice on your case.
What is a C100 Form?
A C100 Form is the form you need to complete to ask for a family court to make a judgement under Section 8 of the Children Act 1989. In other words, you are asking a court to make a decision on the parenting arrangements for your child(ren).
You can download C100 form here. It is worth printing it off and completing it in pencil first, before you complete the Child Arrangements Order Form either online or in ink.
You can also ask for the form in person from your local family court if you do not have access to a printer or are not submitting the child arrangement order online. Please note, the court staff will not be able to give advice on how to complete your C100 application.
Prior to Completion
Once you have acquainted yourself with the C100, you will usually need to contact a Family Mediator for a meeting called a Mediation Information Assessment Meeting. This is also called a MIAM.
Consideration of mediation by way of a MIAM became compulsory since April 2014. It is intended to explain to you how mediation can help and works out if it is suitable for your situation. There are some exceptions to this, most notably urgent cases and cases where you have been the victim of domestic abuse, but wherever possible, we recommend trying to resolve the parenting arrangements initially between yourselves and if that does not work, then through family mediation.
The Mediation Information Assessment Meeting (MIAM)
Your C100 form must be signed by an accredited family mediator. This means they have not only completed a recognised professional family mediation course, but also completed a full mediation portfolio and have kept their training and ongoing professional registration requirements up to date.
For the MIAM you have two options:
1) Standard MIAM
This will be a meeting, either online or face to face with an accredited family mediator. They will explain mediation to you, get a background to your case and if you agree can then contact the other party. They can then sign the C100 form on Page 9:
- If the other party does not respond, or declines mediation
- If you attempt mediation but it breaks down
- If you do not wish to begin mediation yourself
- If the mediator decided mediation is not suitable for your situation
To book your standard MIAM where you wish to invite the other party and keep the matter out of court click here – available nationally for £115
2) Fast-track MIAM
This is an online MIAM available throughout England & Wales. It is a 20-minute call with an accredited family mediator who will explain mediation and get a brief background to your case. It is suitable when:
- You have an urgent matter that does not meet the C100 urgency criteria
- You do not wish to mediate
- The other party has already indicated they do not wish to mediate
- You have been a victim of domestic abuse but do not have the required proofs for court
- You have already tried mediation and it broke down
- Your previous MIAM or C100 certificate was signed more than 4 months ago
- You cannot get to a local family mediator
- You just want a fast-track approach for going directly to court
Book your Fast-Track Online MIAM here. Special Discounted Offer - £99 Gets you the signed Form C100 within 24-hours
Your family mediator will provide you with the signed Page 9 of the form. They will tick the boxes they consider the most relevant to your situation and they may tick more than one box. Once they have signed and date the form, it is valid for 4 months, so you will need to complete the rest of the form and submit it within that timescale.
Help With Court Fees
The court fee for submission of the C100 form is currently £215. You are eligible for help with fees if you are on certain benefits or low income. It is usually worth checking as it will save you the court submission fee and can be dependent on factors such as your monthly budget and the number of children you have. This will have no impact on how your case is dealt with by the court and does not cover your own legal fees.
If you are on certain benefits you may also be eligible for legal aid for your MIAM.
Completing the Form C100
So you now have your legal MIAM certificate sorted out, it is time to start completing the contact order form C100. Below we go through an example of a completed C100. The cover of the form is about mediation and how the law has changed. You don’t have to, but we recommend signing and dating this cover page to show the court you have read and fully understand it.
Now lets look at the Child Arrangement Order Template:
Page 1 – Application Under Section 8 Children's Act
If you have completed an application for help with fees, you will have been given an HWF number. You should enter it on the form at the top.
Complete your full name in the first section. You are the applicant. It will usually be just yourself applying. You then need to enter the full name of the Respondent. This will be the other party in your case. Again, it is usually just one person's name you would enter here.
Nature of Application
There are 3 types of order this form is used for:
- A Child Arrangements Order
- A Prohibited Steps Order
- Specific Issues Order
A Child Arrangements Order
This is the most common type of order. It will ask the court to make a decision on where and when your children will see you. It can cover matters such as overnight stays, how your children will communicate with you outside of these times and can cover holiday periods and other events.
Prohibited Steps Order
These are relatively rare submission and cover matters such as when one parent wants to remove the child(ren) from the county, move further away or change their schools. Such matters can be complicated and we recommend taking independent legal advice at least as a first step prior to submission of your C100.
Specific Issue Order
This will cover matters such as when you want to take the children on holiday but the other party disagrees. Or perhaps what will happen over Christmas, a family wedding or religious festival. It may be for what school the child(ren) will attend, or who will hold the passports.
You can tick more than one box and then provide a very brief summary in the box below:
For example: "I am seeking an order to determine where the child(ren) with stay and when and arrangements for summer holidays, half-term and Christmas."
Concerns about risk of harm
The court will investigate any accusations thoroughly, so you need to be absolutely clear on your allegation and the evidence you have. You should of course answer ‘Yes’ if any of them apply and fill in additional information on the Form C1A.
Additional information Required
Are you asking for permission to make this application, where that is required?
You would not normally need to ask permission if you have parental responsibility, where the child is a child of the family in a marriage or civil partnership, or if you have lived with the child for three years or longer. Grandparents can apply for guardianship or if the child has lived with them for at least three of the last five years.
If this does not apply to you, you will need to apply for permission from the court to apply, so can tick this box. In most cases, as a parent, you can say “No”.
Is an urgent hearing or without notice hearing required?
This is where you need to ask the court to act immediately to prevent harm to a child or where notifying the other party would likely cause harm to the child. All cases involving children are urgent, but you will need to show there is an imminent risk to the child(ren). If you tick yes, fill in Section 6a or 6b.
Are there previous or ongoing proceedings for the child(ren)?
If you have had previous dealings in any court regarding the children you should tick Yes and enter the details in Section 7. This is so the court has all the information it needs.
Are you applying for an order to formalise an agreement (consent order)?
This is where you have made an agreement through yourselves, family mediation or with the help of solicitors outside of court and wish for your agreement to be formalised into a child arrangements order. The court will only make such an order if they consider it in the best interest of the child(ren).
Is this a case with an international element or factors affecting litigation capacity?
Tick Yes and complete Section 8 or 9 if one of the parents or child(ren) lives abroad, involves a relocation abroad. This is not the case if the issue is involving taking your child abroad on holiday.
Will the child or any of the people involved need to use spoken or written Welsh during the course of the proceedings?
Tick yes if this is the case and complete Section 10
Page 2 – C100 Children's Details
Summary of children’s details
This is where you need to add all the details of all the children that you are asking the court to make an order about. You need to be completely accurate here. Start with the eldest child and complete their date of birth where known. The order applied for will usually be “Child Arrangements Order” or “Specific Issues Order” or both. You will have stipulated this on the front page. It is possible you could ask for different orders for different children. Ensure you enter both yours’ (the Applicant) and the other parents’ (the Respondent) relationship to each child listed, even if it is the same for all.
Page 3 – C100 Children's Details continued
This page goes further into the information about the child(ren) you are making an application for:
1a – Are any of the children known to the local authority children’s services?
Enter Yes, No or Don’t know here – but don’t guess. If Yes, then there is space to enter the name of the child, the Local Authority and the name of their social worker if you know it.
1b – Are any of the children the subject of a child protection plan?
This would be a plan formalised by the local child services to detail how to protect the child(ren). You would normally have been notified if such a plan was to be put in place.
1c – Do all the children have the same parents?
Enter Yes or No here and enter the names of the parents, otherwise enter all the details in the box below.
The next box deals with parental responsibility. It is important to get this part right. Remember that you will automatically have parental responsibility if you are the biological mother of the child, or if you are the father and named on the birth certificate or were married to the child’s mother at the time of the birth (even if you are no longer married).
You may have applied for parental responsibility by a subsequent order. So whichever method of parental responsibility the party has, put their name and how they have responsibility here. You can find out more about who automatically has parental responsibility here.
1d – Who do the children currently live with?
Fill in the details of where the child(ren) currently live here. Whether with you, the applicant, the respondent or someone else (such as a grandparent). You should note that any address listed here will be seen by all parties on the case, so there is the option to complete a confidential contact detail form, called a Form C8, which can be found here.
Page 4 – Requirement to attend a Mediation, Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM)
We looked at this part at the start of this Ultimate Guide to Completing a C100 Form. But in most cases, you will need to have attended a MIAM. There are some 15 exceptions which I have written about in more detail in this blog.
- You are submitting the form to formalise an agreement you already have – called a consent order. You would not need to complete a MIAM as agreement has already been reached on all matters
- Concerns a child who is the subject of separate ongoing emergency proceedings, care proceedings or supervision proceedings. These are where the child is at imminent risk and proceedings have already started. You would normally know if this is the case.
- You have an exemption from the requirement to attend a MIAM. There is a long list of exemptions on page 5 and we will go through these next.
One of the boxes on this page must therefore be ticked because:
- An emergency order is currently going through
- You have an exemption (see next page)
- You have been told by a mediator that you have an exemption
- You have attended a MIAM
Page 5 – Applicant claims exemption(s) from attendance at a MIAM
This part of the form will only be ticked if you have not attended a MIAM and have ticked the box on the previous page that you wish to apply for an exemption.
Please note the court will reject your application if they disagree with your exemption request and they will require and look at any evidence you provide. This can delay matters considerably so if you are unsure, do not have the evidence or do not want to provide the evidence, you may wish to consider a fast-track MIAM.
Book your Fast-Track Online MIAM here. Special Discounted Offer - £99 Get you the signed Form C100 within 24-hours.
There are 5 main areas the court will accept you not attending a MIAM:
- Domestic Violence
- Child Protection Concerns
- Previous MIAM attendance or previous MIAM exemption
- Other Discretionary Reason
We will look at these in turn:
Section 3a – Deals with Domestic Violence (Abuse) evidence
The first 6 boxes deal with evidence relating to domestic violence. If the other party has been arrested, whether subsequently convicted or not, there will be evidence of this available from the local police who arrested them. You may need to provide a custody number, CAD number or other police reference. Please note it is not evidence in itself that the police were called to an incident, there must have been an arrest made at some point in relation to domestic violence.
The next 4 boxes deal with any injunction or undertaking or finding of fact by a court. You may have got a civil injunction which did not involve the police for example.
The remaining boxes deal with any evidence you have by way of a letter, assessment or other professional report from a health care worker, domestic abuse charity, or public body that shows domestic violence is or has taken place.
Please note it is not enough to tell the court you have suffered domestic abuse, if you cannot provide at least one of the items of evidence listed over pages 5 to 7. If in doubt you should attend a MIAM and inform the family mediator that you have been a victim of domestic abuse – for which you do not need to provide any evidence.
They can then complete the relevant page of the C100 form as necessary.
Page 7 – MIAM Exemption Reasons
Section 3b – Child protection concerns
This exemption relates to whether the local authority (usually child services) have made an enquiry under Section 47 of the Children Act 1989 – which usually means the child is in police protection, is subject of an emergency protection order or is likely to suffer significant harm. You will normally be aware that such an enquiry is under way.
Or, the child may already be subject to a child protection plan and again you would normally be aware of this.
Section 3c – Relates to Urgency
You will need to think carefully about completing this sections as an exemption reason as if the court disagree you will have to attend a MIAM and will lose valuable time. You may wish to get a legal opinion on this, or just book in a fast-track MIAM.
The urgency factors look at the risk to the life or physical safety to the applicant o their family or home, risk to the child, loss of evidence or similar. These will usually be extreme circumstances and would involve you needing to submit the application that day.
(Please note in some circumstances Mediate UK can hold a same day MIAM – call 0330 999 0959 for more information if your situation is extremely urgent).
Page 8 – Prior MIAM attendance or exemption
Section 3d – Previous MIAM attendance or exemption
This section is relevant if you previously had a MIAM and your MIAM certificate, ie Page 9 of the C100 form, is dated within the last four months. Outside of this time, you will need to do a new MIAM with an accredited family mediator.
Alternatively this application may relate to an existing case, where a MIAM had already taken place and in such situations, you do not need to attend another one for an application for existing proceedings.
Please Note: If you have had proceeding that are no longer ongoing, and have not attended a MIAM with in the last four months you will need to attend a new MIAM appointment
Section 3e – Other exemptions
These cover a variety of reasons. They relate to you contacting mediators within 15 miles of where you live and not being able to attend a MIAM. With online MIAMs now available these reasons are less likely to be accepted by the court. The Family Mediation Council will allow a MIAM to be held on the phone in exceptional circumstances.
If you do not know where the other party lives or if they live abroad or are in prison, then you do not have to consider mediation by way of a MIAM.
Finally if you or the other party are a child, or if the application would not normally be served on the other party due to urgency or court order, then you would tick the relevant box here.
The most common other exemption is not knowing a contact detail for the other party, but the court would expect you to take reasonable steps to find this out. Also, it is worth considering that online mediation can be held when one parent lives in a different country.
Remember, you only need to complete the relevant sections of pages 4 to 9 if you are applying for an exemption to a MIAM. If you have a MIAM then you leave these blank and the family mediator will complete page 9 for you:
Page 9 – Mediator confirms exemption or attendance at a MIAM
This page must be completed by an authorised family mediator. An authorised family mediator is one who has been accredited by the Family Mediation Council, a search of mediators near to you can be found here or alternatively Mediate UK can help if you live in England & Wales by conducting an online MIAM.
Book your Fast-Track Online MIAM here. Special Discounted Offer - Just £99 Gets you the signed Form C100 within 24-hours.
Once you have completed a MIAM the mediator will sign and date the form and send it to you (or your solicitor if you have one). You can then insert this page into your application.
Page 10 – Why are you making this application
Section 5 lets the court know why you are making an order. You need to confirm whether permission is needed and being sought (see the section in this guide on page one about who can make the application is unsure)
Section 5a – reason for permission.
If you need permission and are applying for it enter why here. This may be something such as
“I am the paternal grandparent and have had a relationship with the child for many years which has been suddenly and inexplicably removed.”
Section 5b – brief details.
This is purely an overview statement. Do not go into full details or a history of events here. You will usually have an opportunity to explain things further when you case gets to court. This summary may be something along the lines of:
“My ex-partner and I separated two years ago and we have had an informal arrangement in place, where the children stayed with me two nights per week and also on more nights by agreement. Since I have moved in with a new partner, all contact has been withdrawn and I am asking the court to make a child arrangements order to formalise our arrangements as they previously were as I believe it is important for the children to have regular contact with me.”
Section 5c – Have you previously prepared a Parenting Plan?
It is worth looking at a the parenting plan which you can download from Caffcass.
If you already have a parenting plan between you, then you can attach it to the application form.
Page 11 – Urgent Hearings
You will only complete this section if you have ticked the relevant exemption box. Completing this page without claiming this exemption reason will not get your case heard quicker.
This page deals with urgent applications. This may be where the child is about to be removed from the country without permission, or where they are at imminent risk of severe harm. If such an urgent application is sought, you should give serious consideration to taking expert legal advice from a family solicitor or lawyer as a matter of urgency on your situation. You can search for a solicitor here.
Page 12 – Without Notice Hearings
Section 6b deals with cases where the other party is not to be contacted. Again you will only complete this section if claiming the relevant MIAM exemption. You should also strongly consider getting good legal advice if this is the reason you are applying for an exemption.
Page 13 – Other court cases
This section is where you provide further details to the court, if you ticked Yes to the question on Page 1 regarding other court hearings. You should try and enter as much detail about the case(s) as possible here and can attach any existing court order with your application.
Page 14 – International Cases and Ability to participate
Section 8 – Cases with an international element
This section will be completed if you ticked Yes to the relevant question on page 1. If so you should complete the questions. This can be a complicated area and you should get legal advice from a lawyer or solicitor, preferably one who has experience of dealing with international family law cases.
Section 9 – Factors affecting ability to participate in proceedings
This section will only be completed if you have ticked the relevant box on page one. You should put in here details of any disability or other factors affecting your ability to take part in proceedings.
Page 15 – Attending Court
You should complete this page. It will allow the court to be prepared for your court attendance and deals with organising interpreters, intermediaries or if you need any special assistance. It also allows you to request a separate waiting room if there are security concerns. The court will usually contact you about this before the hearing.
Page 16 – About the Applicant
You must complete this section as fully as possible. If you have concerns about the respondent knowing your details, you should complete the Form C8 which deals with confidential contact details.
Page 17 – About the Respondent
The court will need to contact the other party so you should put in here as much details as you can. Don’t guess and put 'don’t know' if you’re unsure.
If you do not know the whereabouts of the child or other party, you can complete a Form C4. This will allow the court to carry out further investigations into their whereabouts.
Page 18 – Others who should be given notice
In some cases there may be another person who needs to be notified, for example if the child habitually stays with a grandparent, who would enter their details here.
You can also enter details here of any other children who are not part of this application. For example if you have children living with you from a new partner.
Page 19 – Solicitor’s Details
You should enter the name of your solicitor here if they will be acting for you. In most cases if you have a solicitor they will complete the C100 form on your behalf.
Page 20 – Checklist and Statement of Truth
Section 15 – Checklist
This section asks you to check back through the form C100 and check you have completed all the relevant sections. It reminds you that you need at least three copies of the court form.
Section 16 – Statement of truth
This section is the Statement of Truth. It reminds you the importance of being factual and that you may be prosecuted for contempt of court if you are deliberately misleading or untruthful.
If completing the statement of truth yourself you should delete the part that says [the applicant believes] put your own full name and sign in the box. You must date the form here too.
If you are paying the court fees, you can let the court know you will be making payment by card or you would put no if you are applying for a court fee waiver or wish to make payment by another method. You can check whether you are eligible for a fee waiver here:
Pages 21 to 24 – Guidance note for completing form C100
These pages relate to Guidance Notes on completing the Child Arrangement Form. To ensure you have completed it correctly and thereby not delaying any application, you may wish to check these notes and the ones provided in this Ultimate Guide to Completing a Form C100, prior to submission.
Once you are happy with your form and you have either Page 9 completed by an accredited family mediator or have evidenced / explained your exemption criteria you can submit the C100 form to your local family court.
In most cases, you can now submit your C100 application online. This is usually a quicker and easier way to proceed. You will still need to meet the legal requirements of a MIAM.
Courts and Mediation
It is becoming more prominent for a court to refer both parties back to mediation if they consider it is suitable for your case and has not been given a go already. In such cases, the judge will usually order a new hearing for 3 months down the line, whilst mediation is attempted.
Family Mediation is never compulsory, but the judge would ask questions on why you did not attempt it if they have adjourned matters for you to try. But more importantly it will delay matters further, whilst you agree on a local mediator and set up the meetings.
This is why we strongly suggest attempting mediation as a first step and using the family law court and completing a C100 and submitting to court as a last resort.
This ultimate guide has been produced by Ali Carter Dip M.(B.inst) F.inst.Pa.
Ali is the Managing Director of Divorce Ltd, a Mediator, Divorce Negotiator and has been previously through a divorce himself. He has helped clients in over 2000 divorce or separations since 2010.
Book your Fast-Track Online MIAM here. Special Discounted Offer - £99 Gets you the signed Form C100 within 24-hours.
Yes! I would like more information about a fast-track MIAM at the discounted fee of just £99 including the signed C100 form.