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C100 Child Arrangement Order (CAO) Guide
This is a follow up to the original C100 Guide Thread. Here-in is practical support on how to complete the new C100 Child Arrangement Order .
Prior to applying to Court there is an obligation for you to have attempted mediation (barring exceptional circumstances mentioned later). This can be accessed by contacting: The National Family Mediation using: www.nfm.org.uk
The application you are completing is essentially an application to Court to request one of 3 things:
Child Arrangement Order for Contact
Prohibited Steps Order (PSO) to prevent a specific action
Specific Issue Order (SIO) to have the Court rule on a particular element
The C100 CAO can be found at: s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/hmctsformfinder/c100-eng.pdf
Please note: Justice.gov.uk can move the form and a simple Google search will bring up the relevant form.
By submitting this application to the Court, you are also by default accepting a Residence Order, as this form and subsequent directions will include a ruling on whom the child shall reside with. Me personally, I am against this as often this gives more control to one parent who – at the point of the need to apply to Court – may have too much control anyway. There are ways to diminish this that I will explain further in. It is optional whether you want to include this in any additional information.
Summary of the Above
Child Arrangement Order – This is the most common submittal. It generally requests the Court to make an order regarding what contact will be made for you and your children and may include some specific items relating to when (a contact schedule eg Overnight Friday-Monday every other week) and where (at the Fathers address or Grandparents).
Prohibited Steps Order – This is the least used element on any C100. It is used to request that the Court essentially “stop” something from happening. The weight of evidence is normally the determining factor in relation to whether that something can go ahead, or will be Prohibited. It is most commonly used to i) prevent another parent from moving exceptional distances or ii) to try and prevent or limit a child from being exposed to a particular environment eg “I do not want child going to X”. The reality is that PSO's are quite rare to grant and the Court would rather utilize communication to resolve dispute here (however fraught that communication is)
Specific Issue Order – The second most common used option of the C100. The SIO is used to ask the Court to rule on – you guessed it – a Specific Issue. This mostly boils down to things such as: Holidays or extended time away, splits of half term or the summer holidays and can include more detailed items such as when documents such as medical information or commonly Passports are handed over.
Please be aware that a C100 can have you selecting one or more of the above boxes. Its entirely up to you which you select. If this is your first Contact Application, it is strongly advised that you think about future holidays, special occasions, splits of holidays (half terms etc) and anything else you feel relevant. This can save you added expense in future. So if your child is 3+ years of age, it is sensible to consider what level of contact you would want when they are at school.
Foreword prior to C100 Application
Before completing the Application to Court, you must:
- Have contacted a Mediator or attended a MIAM (Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting)
- Have either a signed Section 14a or 14b (of the C100) Note: The mediator will complete this as appropriate and its important to allow the mediator to complete this. They are given training
Please ensure that at the first appointment you take with you Section 14 of the C100. If the respondent does not attend, it can be grounds to allow the mediator to complete the section, and prevent your case being delayed.
Mediation however isn't necessary if there are exceptional circumstances: Domestic Violence, Child Protection Concerns (including Safeguarding), Urgency, prior MIAM/Mediation or another Court ruled exemption.
As far as common sense goes regarding Mediation Parameters you should always state to the mediator that you want resolution within 5-6 sessions. My personal view (and after speaking to many Fathers in a similar boat) is that if after 6 sessions no agreements are being made then one of 3 applies: 1) mediation is going nowhere fast and is unsuitable 2) it is being used as a way to further delay and infringe upon contact commencing/continuing or 3) you being able to sit down as parents together just isn't working/won't work and you need a Court to decide something that is hopefully “middle ground” and fair for the child. There is of course a dark reason number 4 (which I have seen in action) and that is to cost you money.
***The Declaration form for the C100 can be signed but it is not essential. Don't bother signing.***
On this page you will fill in your name, your chosen Application from: Child Arrangement Order, Prohibited Steps Order or Specific Issue Order.
Nature of Application:
Specify the order you want to make: This is where you will list what you want the Court to Order. This can be summarised very briefly (you add further detail later). Example: Contact Each weekend 6pm Friday-6pm Sunday plus one evening per week 6-8. An overseas holiday for up to 14nights. 2 Half Terms per year plus half of summer holidays.
Concerns about risk of harm:
Tick any/all that apply or not *. If you tick Other, a C1A is needed to detail these. Please ask on the main forum for other guidance on this particular aspect. * For this reason I will not cover Section 4, Section 6 or Section 7.
Additional Information Required:
Asking for permission to make the application : Tick No (unless you have previously had a S91 barring order or previously been refused any application by the Court)
Is an urgent hearing or without notice hearing: Tick No (unless there are serious welfare concerns where your child may face imminent harm or danger. Often referred to as an Ex-Parte Application)
Are there previous or ongoing proceedings for the children: Tick Yes or No depending on your circumstance
Are you applying for an order to formalise an agreement (consent order) : Tick No (unless you are bringing in an agreement from Mediation or with the explicit consent of the Respondent)
Is this a case with an international element : Tick No (any other issues regarding a “Yes”, post in the forums)
Section 1 – The Children
Complete all the relevant details pertaining to the children of the case.
1a-1d: Is a straight forward process of box ticking and anything you are required to put more information to there is space to do so.
Section 2 – Mediation / Section 5, 13 and 14
For clarity, I will be merging these two sections, as when filling in these forms do them both at the same time.
For section 2 there are a series of options that you must tick Yes to at least one.
2a. Refers to any previous or current cases regarding the children and were any of these subject to a protection of the child (eg Care Order). Most people will Tick No. Note: If your case is a Yes, you must complete Section 5. Please post in the main forum for further guidance if this applies.
2b. Are you claiming exemption from MIAM? In other words you are stating that you do not need to attend Mediation. Only tick yes if you are claiming any of the circumstances as stated in: Foreword prior to C100 Application. Most people here will Tick No.
If you are claiming exemption, turn to Section 13. In Section 13, it asks for reasons for you not attending a MIAM/Mediation. You can tick one or more boxes and then you will need to complete 13a-13e. Because of the nature of some of the criteria through these (13a-13e) you may need more detailed advice should you be unsure which can be sought from the main Legal Eagle forum. I would decline to give a run through in a general overview of guidance here purely because your case may have individual matters or multiple issues.
2c. Has a family mediator provided you with an exemption? If you have been to a mediator they can conclude that mediation is not suitable. Most people will Tick No. If you do however Tick Yes, it will be because the mediator after seeing/not seeing (as the case may be) the parties is satisfied that it will not be a suitable avenue. You must have the mediator complete Section 14a as they are trained and will tick the relevant box.
2d. Have you attended a MIAM? If you have ticked No to all the above boxes, you will now need to Tick Yes. Note: If you tick No, your application will be immediately declined.
Section 14b: The most common reason a mediator will complete this section is because only one party attended. It is important at the first session to take the Section 14 with you, as sometimes mediators can be satisfied that the respondent may not be willing to attend mediation. I have for example, had an instance where a Father showed text messages from Mum saying she won't be attending and refused to "play these games". This along with his attendance was satisfactory for the mediator to complete this section. I would also advise if the above is similar, to say because respondent has not arrived “There is no point me coming alone”.
Please refer back to Mediation parameters.
Section 3 – Why are you making this application?
Unless you have a NMO (Non-Molestation Order) or a S91 (barring order) you will Tick No – Permission Not Required. For any of the other boxes, please refer your comments to the main forum.
3a. See above and include in main forum.
3b. Brief details of: previous agreements regarding contact or matters and how this has now broken down. A sentence on why you are now bringing this to Court. What you want the Court to do. Note: Reasons given by the respondents for their actions should be left out. They will answer this themselves when in Court.
- Contact previously went ahead every other week Friday 6pm to Monday Drop off to School plus half of all half terms / Contact has been operating under an ad-hoc basis on the Respondents allowance to do so
- Overseas holidays were permitted
- I am bringing this back to Court because the respondent is unwilling to communicate
- I ask the Court to re-instate the above / I ask the Court to make an order that...
3c. No idea why this is included when an application necessitates Court. Tick No.
Sections 4, Section 5, Section 6 and Section 7 will need you to post in the Legal Eagle forum given that it deals with very particular elements and cannot be summed up adequately for the plethora of reasons in a Guide.
Section 8 – Attending the Court
This is a straight forward Section that you just need to highlight special arrangements for the Court to make.
Section 9 – About You
Complete the relevant details about yourself and any other applicant you want to be party to proceedings (usually someone who has Parental Responsibility).
Section 10 – The Respondent(s)
Complete as far as is practical the information you know. If you do not know the address please see the end of this guide for information relating to a C4 Seek and Find.
Section 11 – Others who should be given notice
Leave this section blank. If you think others should be aware eg a Foster Carer, post in the main forum.
Section 12 – Solicitors Details
If you have a bloodsu - I mean a Solicitor who will be acting for you, complete any relevant details here.
Section 13 and Section 14 have already been done under Section 2.
Section 15 – Statement of Truth
Complete by way of signature
Now that your form is complete, I would always sleep on it and revisit with a fresh pair of eyes/clear head. Once you are happy, you will need to have 4 copies that you send in to the Court. They will then go through their procedures and pass to listings for a hearing. You must send along with your application a cheque for £215. Further information is available regarding an EX-160a where you look to reduce this cost and it is always worth if money is exceptionally tight completing one of these.
At the start of the post, I made comments relating to Residence and what it entails with details of control. If you are concerned about controlling aspects by the Respondent you should request the Court make a specific direction in any order, usually to the effect of: “In the event of the Child being taken abroad (aka outside of UK jurisdiction) the Parent must make the other Parent aware of when and where within 28days or as soon as is practical”.
This would then effectively keep you in the loop regarding holidays. Its not unheard of to not be told where the Children are being taken or for how long because Residence normally dictates that the Resident parent doesn't need permission or to notify the other parent. As an example I had to provide flight numbers, times, airlines, hotel with contact address and number. Of these, I now consider flight numbers and a location and maybe hotel (if they want to be nosey) of being the only reasonable thing to ask and provide. Your only obligation however as far as Court would be concerned is the dates, the country and the location.
C4 Seek and Find
If you do not know where the Respondent lives. You should complete a form C4 (that can be sent along with the C100 to save an additional cost). The two most useful places to contact for the Court to obtain the address is the childcare provider (a school or nursery) or the Doctors.
More information is available from the main thread.
I would sincerely hope that this Application will be the end of the matter regarding Contact issues. While this is legally binding, it is not obligatory for a Court to enforce this order – despite what the Law says. For that reason, any breaches should be acted upon to prevent a pattern of behaviour that can very quickly spiral out of control. One missed contact may of course be an exception, as could two. By the third I would be giving a strong advice to bring it back to Court to nip it in the bud.
The topic has been locked.