Legal Guide: Children Act proceedings – step by step

ATTEND A MIAMS APPOINTMENT
(Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting)

If mediation is unsuitable or no agreement reached obtain MIAMS form

FILE APPLICATION AT COURT

Form C100 for child arrangement orders such as:

  • Residence
  • Contact
  • Prohibited steps
  • Specific issues

Form C1 for parental responsibility orders

Leave to remove from the jurisdiction if child arrangements order or residence order is in place

Form C2 if there are existing ongoing proceedings

Form C1A if making allegations of harm and domestic violence

MIAMS Form

Issue fee of £215

SERVICE OF APPLICATION PAPERS

Direct by the court through the post on Respondent or Respondent’s Solicitors

Copy sent by Court to Cafcass (Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service)

COURT TIMETABLE

Court sets a timetable on issue of application

Date set for FHDRA (First Hearing Dispute Resolution Hearing)

Cafcass to carry out safeguarding checks with Police and Local Authority

Cafcass to speak with applicant and respondent in respect of safety concerns only

Cafcass to report to the court by letter on the safeguarding checks and whether there is a role for Cafcass, prior to the FHDRA

FIRST HEARING DISPUTE RESOLUTION APPOINTMENT (FHDRA)

Parties invited to speak with Cafcass prior to the hearing either together in mediation or separately to see if agreement can be reached

IF AGREED

Court may approve an order, if an order is considered to be in the best interests of the child concerned, or note the agreement on the court record and condlude the case

IF NOT

Court will set directions to further the case which may include:

  • Filing and service of statements
  • Witness statements
  • Medical evidence
  • Alcohol and drug testing
  • Interim contact at a contact centre
  • Police evidence
  • S7 Cafcass report

Set date for Dispute Resolution Hearing (DRA)

COURT TIMETABLE FOLLOWING FHDRA

Compliance with the directions to obtain and file and serve all required information

Any witness intending to give a statement will be required to attend court to give evidence on their statement at a final hearing

Applicant’s solicitors to prepare a bundle of relevant paginated documents for the DRA to include:

  • A summary to the background of the case
  • Chronology
  • Statement of issues

Both parties to prepare position statements for the hearing to be exchanged at court at the DRA and a copy handed to the Judge

DISPUTE RESOLUTION APPOINTMENT (DRA)

A meeting designed to try to settle the case by agreement

Court likely to follow Cafcass recommendation in S7 report if one has been ordered

IF AGREED

Court or legal representatives will draw up consent order for all parties to sign there and then and the Court will approve it

IF NOT

Any further necessary directions set by the Court such as:

  • Additional statements from each party
  • Addendum Cafcass report
  • Court sets a date for the final hearing

COURT TIMETABLE FOLLOWING DRA

Compliance with any directions set by the court at the DRA

Applicant’s solicitors to update and prepare trial bundle for use by all parties at the final hearing

Filing of trial bundle 4 days before final hearing

FINAL HEARING

Opportunity at Court prior to commencement of hearing to try to settle the case by agreement

IF AGREED

Court or legal representatives will draw up consent order for all parties to sign and then it will be presented to the court for the court’s approval.

IF NOT

Both parties will give evidence on their statements and other disclosued documents to the court

Each party can be cross-examined by the other party or their legal representative

Witness evidence will be heard and each witness can be cross examined

Each party will sum up their case to the presiding Judge

Presiding Judge will give judgment and make decision taking into account S1 Children Act 1989 welfare checklist

Please note that these guides are for informational purposes only, and do not constitute legal advice. You can contact one of our expert consultant lawyers using the form below.