If parents are unable to agree arrangements for their children an application can be made to the court. When the application is received by the court the judge will consider which court (usually local to the child) will deal with the case.
The issues that are likely to be in dispute are
The Courts require couples who are in dispute about the arrangements for their children following a marriage or relationship breakdown, to have first attended a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting. It is only in certain limited circumstances that a party/couple will be exempt from having to attend such a meeting.
Our Solicitors all regularly conduct cases in courts and will be able to explain to you the procedure. A Mediation Appointment may be offered at the first court hearing where parents meet with a Cafcass officer to try to reach an agreement. Cafcass is the organisation which assists the court by independently reporting to the court on children disputes. They will sometimes be asked to report to the court if the court decides that there are concerns about a child’s welfare that need to be investigated or a child’s wishes and feelings need to be considered.
If no agreement is reached the court will usually ask the parents to file statements and can ask the Cafcass service to prepare a report. A report will not be ordered unless the court considers it is needed to assist in taking the case forward.
The report can involve meeting with both parents and sometimes the children, depending on their age and level of understanding. It can also involve the Cafcass Officer speaking to the children’s teachers and any other person that is involved with the child.
Considerable weight will usually be placed on the recommendations contained in any report and encouragement given to the parents to agree matters. If matters remain disputed the parents will have to attend a final hearing to give evidence. Whether there is a report or not, if parties cannot agree then a final hearing with the parents giving evidence will lead to a judge/ justices deciding what arrangements should be ordered for a child.
Contact one of our specialist Solicitors to discuss these issues and we will be able to provide you with a guide to the procedure, timescales and costs. We offer an initial fixed price interview that our clients find extremely informative and enables you to decide the next step.
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