Child arrangement orders
Child Arrangement orders Explained.
A child arrangements order is a Court order that states who, when and where contact with a child should take place. This is done by submitting a c100 form. If it is a risk of any abuse or harm and you need an urgent hearing an example being a case of domestic violence or a case without norice then you will need to submit a c101a form instead of the c100 form . You may need to apply for permission first for a hearing in which case you will need to submit a c2 form.
● RECORD EVERYTHING.
● KEEP A TIMELINED LOG OF ALL. CONTACT SESSIONS INCLUDING FAILURES TO TURN UP, EXCUSES FOR BEING LATE OR ANY PARTIES NAMED ON THE CHILD ARRANGEMENTS ORDER WHO ALTER CONTACT SESSIONS.
● ALWAYS KEEP ALL TEXTS AND EMAILS AS YOUR PAPER TRAIL EVIDENCE.
● REFER TO OUR STEP BY STEP HELP TAB. LOOK UNDER OUR RECORDING MEETINGS SECTION. THE SAME PRINCIPLES APPLY FOR CONTACT ISSUES
What is a family assistance order...
A court can make a Family Assistance Order also known as an FAO order, means that the children’s services can provide extra support to families who are experiencing difficulties after separation or divorce. The court's will appoint either a CAFCASS worker or a social worker to work, to befriend and to help and support your family. They will advice and assist anyone who is named on the FAO. More commonly than not this is usually to provide assistance with contact, monitoring contact and to provide access to a contact centre when it is orders that the child have supervised contact.
Who can be named in an FAO ?
The FAO order can include the parent's or guardian's of the child, the child themselves and anyone that the child lives with or who are named in the contact order, formally known as a child arrangement order or who has been granted contact with the child.
Can I apply for a family assistance order?
This type of order is only made if a judge decided that an FAO is appropriate, It is not there as an application for parents requests but only for a judge to grant/rule an FAO.
However it Is possible that during the court proceedings that parent's or other named parties in the court order can put in An application for another similar form of court application or order such as a child arrangement order for contact with the child or maybe an order to enforce a child arrangement order/contact order if contact has been breached. You could try your luck and ask the judge to consider making a family assistance order after all you never know your luck you might get lucky.
When us a family assistance order granted?
An FAO is normally made when all named parties are in mutual agreement to the order being made.
How long does a family assistance order usually last?
An FAO can last for up to 12 months, unless the FAO order granted a shorter time period.
What can CAFCASS do under a family assistance order?
They can refer your families case back to the court's, to request a variation to your child arrangements order, prohibited steps order or specific issues order. Or if there is a pattern of repetitive historical behaviour that is an issues or concern that could cause a negative emotional impact or can possibly harm or endanger, or cause abuse or neglect to the child named on the FAO order, regarding contact with the child who is subject to a child arrangement order or a residency order that is still in force. The decision to grant a variation to the family assistance order is solely made by the judge. Neither the CAFCASS worker or the social worker can make any kind of variation or suspension what-so-ever to the family assistance order.
More often than not they do need to be reminded of this as they think they have the authority to override there legal statutory duties and powers by playing god with children's lives and there future's.
Section 7 Reports Explained.
Under the Childrens Act 1989, section 7, when an application is made to the Courts by one or both parents under the Children's Act 1989, section 8, for any of the following...
• A Child's Arrangements Order.
• Prohibited Steps Order.
• Specific Issues Order.
• Family Assistance Order.
A section 7 is also known as a welfare report. It is requested by the Judge in private law proceedings when the courts need more information on a child's welfare to decide what course of action is best for your your child.
A section 7 report is requested when.....
• There is a case of domestic violence or abuse, the Courts will request a "safety and risk assessment" This should only be carried out by a qualified and accredited professional.
• When the social worker hasn't spoken to the local authorities legal team or no Children's Guardian has been appointed to the child because the child hasn't been made a party to the proceedings. However if the case involves Domestic Violence or abuse then the child is entitled to there own legal representation, depending on the seriousness of the case.
A Section 7 report is carried out by the families social worker if children's services are already or have been previous involved with the family in the past. If not the Court will refer the family to CAFCASS where they will be allocated a CAFCASS worker .
Families disagree usually when a couple separate and they can't agree between themselves or it might be if parents and grandparents can't agree on what's best for the child. Feelings can often run very high. This usually happens because parties can't solve the problems between themselves, even with or without the help of a mediation service or a solicitor.
Social workers are asked by a parent/relative who is considering making an application for a Section 8 Order if they will support the application. A decision to support the application can only be made if a full assessment of all the parties involved have been completed aswell as the child's wishes and feelings being noted and taken onboard.
If the Courts have ordered a Section 7 report to be carried out, the professional carrying out the section 7 report must look at the Court Order, which will have been sent to them by the Court. This will tell them what particular area the Court is asking for the report to concentrate on. The professional can comment on other areas of concern if they feel they are relevant to the case.
Importantly, they must check whether the request for the Section 7 Report requires a response to Domestic Violence or Abuse. Or comes following a Finding of Fact Hearing of Domestic Violence or Abuse. They must ensure the Judge's findings and directions are fully read.
The reason the Courts ask for a Section 7 report to be carried out is to provide the Court with more information or advice as to what (if any) Orders should be made for the best interests of the child's welfare. It is not their role to resolve disputes between parties, but they may identify and get the opportunity to help the parties to reach an agreement.
The Court's request for a section 7 report will be contained within the Court Order. This will be sent to the local authorities Legal Team who will forward this onto your Multi Agency Service Hub (MASH). MASH will then alert your allocated social worker if you have one already or they will do a new referral to children's services. If the children are already under the local authorities the report should be completed by the allocated social worker.
In Private Law proceedings the professional carrying out the section 7 report must start their report with the presumption that you are competent parrnts and the problem is that you cannot agree about certain matters, the issues about where the child lives and contact issues regarding the child. They are not there looking for grounds to test significant harm but they may be required to evaluate harm and risks to the children or their parent / carer, where there are issues of Domestic Abuse. Neither are they there looking for the Local Authority to share parental responsibility. However, the fact that the Local Authority is involved with the child would indicate that there are concerns about the child so these should be clearly stated in their report.
The Court usually sets a timescale of 12-16 weeks for the work to be completed. The deadline for submission of the report to the Court will be specified in the Court Order. It is important that the report is filed directly to the court and they stick to the timescale set out by the Judge. Where there are reasons for delay, such as repeated failed appointments by the parties involved, the court must be notified, in writing. The letter should indicate a revised timescale for completion.
They must keep all parties aware and updated of their emerging conclusions so that the report does not contain surprises. Once they have completed there report they must clearly explain and provide you with the information on how you can request a full copy of there report either through the Court or through your solicitor. There report should be filed 14 days before the Hearing.
Mediation Information and Assessment Meetings (MIAMs)
If you are in dispute with your ex, or are having difficulties settling your separation, you may be thinking about court proceedings.
But before an application can be made to court, you are now required to attend a Mediation Information Assessment Meeting (MIAM). The aim of the meeting is to see if mediation could be used to resolve your difficulties, rather than going straight to court.
Courts are required to know that mediation has been considered before they are able to proceed with your application.
The MIAM is a meeting between you and a mediator to find out if there are alternative ways to find solutions to your problems.
The mediator will explain to you:
• what your options might be
• what mediation is, and how it works
• the benefits of mediation and other appropriate forms of resolving disputes
• the likely costs of using mediation
• if you are eligible for free mediation and Legal Aid.
The meeting can be between the mediator and just you, or with your ex-partner too.
If, after your MIAM, it’s considered that mediation is not suitable in your case, the mediator will supply you with an FM1 form but I suggest you download one or pop in to your nearest courts and grab one just incase the mediation centre don't have any. The mediator will sign the form but double check they are a certified mediator, this form confirms that you have attended a MIAM. A court will then allow you to issue proceedings.
remember that before a judge will agree to a hearing for a contact order/child arrangements order both parents must have attended M.A.I.M. mediation information assessment meeting.
Global mediation limited ....
Replacing conflict with harmony
Mediation and disagreement resolution services
this is a free service for parents and carers of children with special educational needs
The children and families act 2014 requires all local authorities to provide independent Mediation and disagreement resolution services to help when parents or young people cannot agree with the local authorities or other providers about the special educational, health or care provision of a child or young person. Other providers include early years settings, school, colleges and other post 16 provisions.
The disagreement resolution arrangements are for all children and young people who have special educational needs (send), not just those who are being assessed for, or have an education, health and care plan.
The Mediation arrangements are for those who are considering making an appeal to the 1st tier tribunal (send). The law says that young people or parents who want to appeal to 1st tier tribunal (send) must 1st contact a Mediation adviser. Once you have had Mediation advice they will issue a certificate so that you can lodge an appeal. You do not have to have Mediation advice if your appeal is only about a placement. The health and social care elements of an EHC plan or if it is a disability discrimination claim.
Your right to appeal is not affected weather you agree to Mediation or not, the tribunal will not make any assumptions if you choose not to try Mediation.
Mediation in a nutshell.
* gets the right people and information together to try to come to an agreement without further delay.
* it gives you a chance to speak freely and to be listened to.
* it helps focus on the important issues and the needs of your child.
* it gives you a chance to build a better working relationship with the professionals involved.
how it works and timescales.
*they will speak to all involved
*then they will arrange a meeting within 30 days of your request (this is the timescale set out in the SEND code of practise) on a date that is agreed by everyone.you can bring a friend or family member to support you. they have to confirm in writting at least 5 days before the Mediation meeting.
* the mediator will make sure that everyone is fairly heard and listened to.
* then the mediator will look for a solution that everyone is happy with and can agree to once everyone is happy with the agreement the mediator then draws up a written agreement that everyone then signs.
you can contact them on
0800 064 4488 from a landline or
0208 441 1355 from a mobile
you can email firstname.lastname@example.org
or write to
global mediation Ltd (SEN)
42 lytton road
Attaching a warning notices to a child arrangement order...
If the warning or penal notice is not on the order the person complaining about the breach must apply to the court to attach it to the order, but unfortunately they then have to wait for another breach before it can be enforced.
All child arrangements orders must contain a warning notice now before you can apply to the courts to enforce a child arrangements order so you must by law apply for a warning notice to be attached to the order first.
If the child arrangements order was issues on or after 8th of December 2008 the child arrangements order will automatically contain an attached warning notice which will explain the consequences if the named person's on the order should fail to keep to the order.
But if the child arrangements order was issues before the 8th of December 2008 then the child arrangements order won't contain a warning notice.
The court's cannot refuse an application to attach a warning notice to an existing child arrangements order either.
Applying for a warning notice to be attached to the child arrangements order does not necessarily mean that the other party has in anyway breached or failed the order, it may simply mean you are amending your order by applying for a warning notice to be attached to your child arrangements order and just updating it.
To make an application for a warning notice to be attached you will will need to submit a C78 application
form into the courts.
What happens next is the court's will set a date for your first hearing. This is called an "issuing" hearing.
The courts will also send you a C6 form called notice of proceedings for the respondents that you have named on your application form.
Also they will send you a C6A form which is a notice of proceedings for all parties named on your application form anyone that the chikd arrangements order applies to who you must by law inform of the proceedings this is called to "serve". With the C6A you will also receive a CB3 notes which is the court's information sheet giving detailed instructions on how and what you must do in "serving" your application forms to the other parties.
Then you must by law inform all other parties and anyone the child arrangements order applies to that you are making an application to update an order for a warning notice to be attached to an existing child arrangements order.
Enforcement of Child Arrangement Orders (C79 application)
Contact Order's or child arrangement orders can be made by a judge under the children’s act 1989.
The contact order/child arrangements order requires the parent with whom the child would normally lives with to allow the child to have contact with a specific person named in the contact order like an estranged ex partner.
An example like when 2 parent's split up and they can't come to a mutual arrangement or agree on how much contact they should both have with their children between themselves. So a judge will decide on a fair and reasonable amount of contact, either supervised in a contact centre, or supervised with a third party family friend or member or unsupervised.
Enforcement is the range of things a court can do to make sure people stick to any order that is made. All Child Arrangement Orders issued after the 8th of December 2008 will now automatically include something called a warning notice and a penal notice on the bottom of them. If not you will have followed step one above and will have one attached at this point.
A warning notice states that a child arrangement order must be obeyed or an enforcement or financial compensation order can be made..
A penal notice states that the order must be obeyed or a breach can be punished by imprisonment or fine.
The problem we have with the orders that are made is some people say they will comply and yet when the court is finished they use excuses as to why the child is not made available for contact. Then the non resident parent as to apply back to court again, if they believe the resident parent is deliberately not complying with the order. This takes time and can happen a number of times.
As the powers of enforcement are powers held by the Family Court, they have to be proved generally to the criminal standard case because there can be serious consequences. So the party complaining must have solid evidence in order to prove the breach
The issue we come across all the time is that some people say they will comply and yet when the court is finished they use excuses as to why they can't make contact or why the child wasnt available for contact. Then the non-resident parent has to go back to court to apply to the courts again, if they believe the resident parent is deliberately not complying with the order. This takes time and can happen a number of times.
As the powers of enforcement are powers held by the Family Court, they have to be proved generally to a criminal standard case because there can be serious consequences. So the party complaining must have solid evidence in order to prove the breach.