Are you in the process of a divorce and are involved in legal matters with regards to your children? It might be that you are battling the custody of your children, or that you are looking to establish some form of a contact with a kid with whom you no longer live. If so, then you should be advised of the need to complete the C100 form. So, what is form C100? You might ask! In this guide, we will tell you everything you need to know about it;
What is a C100 form?
A form C100 is the form you will need to complete when asking a family court for a Specific Issue Order, Child Arrangement Order, or a Prohibited Steps Order. In other words, when basically asking the court to make a determination on the parenting arrangement for your kid(s). It can be about contract arrangements, where both you and your ex-partner can’t agree on how to co-parent your children, or where one parent is being stopped from doing something that’s not in the best interest of the child. A parent must complete this form and must tell the court the reasons for making the application. Of course, the court expects the parties to mediate and reach an agreement by themselves, but when that doesn’t happen, that’s where it comes in.
What types of orders do you get through the C100 form?
As we mentioned above, this form is used to obtain certain orders from the family. But to understand the orders better, here is what each order is all about:
Specific issue order – the order gives direction with regards to a specific question of parental responsibility. Could be about specific issues such as schooling, medical treatment, or any other matter that affect the children directly.
Child Arrangement Order – this order determines who the child lives with or spends time with. The order covers matters such as overnight stays, how the child will be communicating with the other parent during these times, and can even cover holidays and other events.
Prohibited Steps Order – the order prevents an action by one parent, that the other parent believes is not in the best interest of the child, regardless of whether there is parental responsibility or not. It might be prohibiting against removing the child from the country or changing schools.
Where can I get a C100 form?
You can download the form from Gov.UK website if you are acting on your behalf. But if you will seek legal assistance, then your family solicitor will provide you with a copy of the form. When filling the form, you will need to be very careful, and that you double-check everything to ensure that what you included is relevant to your case. Otherwise, it might cause delays if it’s poorly prepared or filled.
Will submitting C100 form cost me?
Yes, it will! When submitting the C100 application form, you will be required to pay 215 pounds to the court. You can either pay by a way of postal or cheque if you were to post the form. You can also pay by card, where you include your contact details on the application and then request the court to contact you when processing the payment.
How long will it take to be processed?
Normally, a court takes 4 to 6 weeks to finalise C100 applications. But the determination might be delayed if the court is dealing with a backlog of cases. If you are looking for the matter to be finalised urgently, then submit an emergency application to the court. Such an application is usually considered as soon as on the day of application, especially one where the child’s welfare might be at risk.
Do I have to attend mediation prior to the completion of the application?
It is very crucial that before your application is processed, you try mediation, where you will be required to contact a Family Mediator for a meeting referred to as a Mediation Information Assessment Meeting or MIAM. Mediation by way of MIAM was made compulsory in the UK in April 2014, and its main intent is to show you how mediation can help you – that is if it’s ideal for your situation. There are some scenarios that are exempted from mediation, such as where domestic abuse is involved, or if the matter is urgent. Now, if ideal for your situation, it is highly recommended that you try resolving the matter among yourselves. And if that doesn’t work, then you can try family mediation, which can only be carried out by authorised and accredited mediators.
When we talk of an accredited family mediator, we are referring to an individual who has not only completed a recognised family mediation professional course, but one that has also completed a full mediation portfolio and has kept their training as well as ongoing professional registration requirements up to date.
There are two forms of MIAMs:
Standard MIAM – this is a meeting with an accredited family mediator, done either online or face to face. The mediator will give you a better idea of how mediation works, and will also get background information regarding your case, and if possible, you will be requested to contact the other party. The mediator will then sign Page 9 of the C100 form if:
- the other party declines mediation or doesn’t respond
- you try mediation but doesn’t work
- you don’t wish to start the mediation yourself
- according to the mediator, mediation isn’t ideal for your situation.
Fast-track MIAM – this is an online meeting that’s available throughout England & Wales. It is basically a 20-minute call where the accredited mediator explains the mediation to you and also tries to learn more about your case. It’s suitable when:
- You don’t wish to mediate
- Your matter is urgent but doesn’t meet the C100 form urgency criteria
- The other party doesn’t wish to mediate
- You were a victim of domestic abuse but don’t have any proof
- You’ve tried mediation before but it didn’t work
- Your C100 form or MIAM was signed over four months ago
- You want to fast-track the process
How to complete the C100 form
With a legal MIAM certificate sorted out, it’s now time to start filling the form. On the first page, you will find more information about the mediation process and how it can be accessed. And if you wish to apply, you will also find a guide on how to go about it. On the next page, you will include your full name under the applicant’s section and then fill in your ex-partner’s name in the respondent section. Remember also that you are required to outline whether there are any risks of harm to the child, and if any, you will have to identify what they are. In essence, if you have serious grounds to make serious allegations, you need to state them clearly in the form C1A which must be submitted together with the C100 application.
Moreover, if you require permission to make the application, like if you are a grandparent seeking to establish contact with your grandchildren, then you will need to obtain permission from the court to make such an application. As a parent, you don’t need any permission though. You might also be needed to state whether an urgent hearing is required. If the application is urgent, then there is a box that you will need to tick. Also, you are required to indicate whether there are ongoing proceedings for the children, whether there is an international element like if the parent is taking the child out of the UK, or whether you are considering to relocate abroad with the child. Lastly, if one or both parties, or even the child might need to speak or require written Welsh during the proceedings, it must be indicated on the form as well.
On page 2, you will enter the full details of the children involved in the application, and make sure that you confirm the relationship between you and the respondent with the child. On page 3 of the C100 form, you will need to fill more details about the children, where you will state whether social services have been involved, or whether the children share the same parents, and who the children are currently living with.
Page 4 to page 9 is about mediation and exemptions. If you have a MIAM certificate, this is where you will include that information. If you are exempted from MIAM, you also need to state so on the exemption sections.
On page 10 of the C100 form, you will be required to state the reasons as to why you are making the applications. This is the section where you clearly explain what it is you are asking from the court, or basically, the purpose of the application. Also, it is in this section where you will include any additional information you may have and would like to be considered alongside your application.
For Pages 11 and 12, you will only fill them if you are making an urgent application. On these pages, you are required to include information on what you are seeking, why the application is urgent, and when it should be considered.
On page 13, you will provide details of any ongoing proceedings relating to the child involved in the application. You will just need court documents that you received for previous children’s cases, or you can simply contact that court for any relevant information. If there is an international element involved in your application, you will note it down on page 14. If there isn’t, then you can leave it blank.
On page 15, you will need to confirm your attendance at the court. Make it clear whether you are the one who will be attending the proceedings, or someone else will be doing it on your behalf. Also, if any party will require an interpreter or any assistance, you will specify it in this section. Pages 16 and 17 require you to provide yours and the respondent’s full contact details. Ensure that the details you provide in this section are accurate, to avoid any delays that could otherwise be caused by providing the wrong information.
If there are any other parties involved in the application and need to be provided with notice of the application, including information on how they are related to the child, it needs to be filled on page 18. Page 19 requires you to provide any legal representation details if you have any.
Page 20 is a crucial section of the application form given that it contains a checklist that allows you to cross-check whether you have filled all the relevant sections, especially the ones that applies to you, and also that you have provided the required evidence to back up your application. Also, it is on this page where you find a statement of truth, which you be needed to complete, sign, and date, confirming that all the details that you have provided are correct and accurate.
Submitting the C100 form
Once you are done filling the form, you then need to submit it to the family court through the post. In so doing, ensure that 3 copies of the completed form are filed together with C1A, if it’s a matter of urgency. The payment should also be sent together with the application form. Also, remember to serve the other party involved with the form.
What happens next?
After the court receives the form, it will issue the application and then provide a notice of issue to you and the respondent as well. The respondent will be needed to acknowledge receipt of the family court form. Thereafter, the first hearing date will be set, with the purpose of considering the safeguarding information, and the court encouraging the parties to resolve the information. Also, the court may instruct Cafcass (Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service) to make initial inquiries with regard to the child’s welfare. Just to point out, the court doesn’t consider any evidence on the first hearing, instead, it will try to determine whether the matter before it is capable for settlement. If it’s not possible to reach an agreement at this point, then the court will give directions to progress the case, and set a hearing date where all the evidence will be heard and considered. At this stage, CAFCASS may be directed to come up with a report on what should be considered. And if there are some serious allegations made by either party and have the ability to affect the outcome, there will be a fact-finding hearing before the case is determined. The court will then set a final hearing date, which is when it will make an order that will be binding on all the parties involved.
This is a lot and not so many people can handle it without help. So, if you are battling for your children’s custody or parental rights, don’t hesitate to seek help from professional family lawyers, who will assist you right from completing the C100 form to preparing for your final hearing.