When relationships breakdown…
It can be really difficult to manage a situation where a relationship breaks down, especially when we have children together.
At Dad Matters we aren’t equipped to support you with these issues, but have worked with some dads with experience to provide the information and signposting below – We hope it helps.
- Your child loves both of their parents.
- All communication should be direct and with purpose.
- You need to stay child focussed at all times.
- You cannot control the actions of other people, only your own actions and how your child sees you act and react.
- Your mental health is important to your child – reach out for support if you’re struggling.
A very brief guide to family court applications…
Mediation was introduced some years ago in an attempt to reduce the amount of family court applications being made.
While Mediation is necessary before any family court application can be made, there are some circumstances when Mediation isn’t appropriate (see here)
You can find out more about mediation and find local mediators in your area here
Note* always book a mediation service local to the residence of the child.
Costs of mediation
Costs and availability vary from mediator to mediator. It is recommended that you contact at least 2 -3 mediators to compare prices and availability. Some offer subsidised mediation for people on lower incomes, so it’s worth asking around. More info available here: https://www.familymediationcouncil.org.uk/family-mediation/cost
If mediation does work
Great news! An agreement has been reached through mediation and both parties are happy! You can still insist that any agreement reached is made into a legally binding Child Arrangements Order (aka court order). Without this, and despite both parties agreeing in mediation, a mediation agreement holds absolutely no legal standing. Always insist on the agreement being made into a legally binding one. If all parties agree, it shouldn’t be a problem.
If mediation doesn’t work
If mediation talks breakdown, if the other party declines to attend mediation, or the mediator decides mediation is not suitable, the mediator will sign a c100 form (page 9) so that you can make a family court application. This is something the mediator will still charge you for. Again, compare mediation prices beforehand as you’ll be surprised how much the price can vary.
Completing the c100 application
A lot of dads assume that going to court will costs thousands, but you can self represent successfully, and if you do the c100 application costs £232 regardless of how many hearings take place. £232 is all you will pay to the courts unless there is a need for any emergency hearing or directions hearing which would be a further £167. (see ex160). https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/form-c100-application-under-the-children-act-1989-for-a-child-arrangements-prohibited-steps-specific-issue-section-8-order-or-to-vary-or-discharge
For more information on court fees, please see this PDF: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1093005/EX50_web_0722.pdf
Completing the actual c100 form is quite straight forward. However! You must pay particular attention to section 5b on page 10. This is the first opportunity for the courts to gather an idea of the issues that have forced you to make this application.
In addition to the c100, you may need to submit supporting applications as follows …
Add the c1 form to the c100 if you are not named on the birth certificate and wish to apply for parental responsibility. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/form-c1-application-for-an-order
Add the c2 form to the c100 to request proceedings to start if you do not have parental responsibility. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/form-c2-application-for-permission-to-start-proceedings-for-an-order-or-directions-in-existing-proceedings-to-be-joined-as-or-cease-to-be-a-part
Add the c4 form to the c100 if you do not know the address of the child you are applying for (note: the address will not be made available to you.) https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/form-c4-application-for-an-order-for-disclosure-of-a-childs-whereabouts
It’s very much possible that you are entitled to waived or reduced fees when making a c100 application. I suggest everyone to complete the ex160 and submit this with the c100. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/apply-for-help-with-court-and-tribunal-fees
Now all you need to do is submit the c100 application (and any other applicable forms) to the courts “that are closest to where the child resides” and wait for the courts to write to you with the date of the first hearing. During the wait you might consider developing a position statement in readiness of the hearing.
For more information https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guide-for-separated-parents-children-and-the-family-courts-cb7
There are organisations who can support you with this process –
https://www.onlydads.org/about-us – We support parents who are struggling to make the best decisions for their family during separation and divorce.
https://www.dadsunltd.org.uk – Dads Unlimited supports the emotional safety of men and those they care about through three key areas; supporting male victims of domestic abuse, supporting men with family separation; and supporting men’s mental health. All of our services use an evidence-based, trauma-informed, person-centred approach.
https://fnf.org.uk -Helping children and families to retain positive relationships after separation or divorce. FNF is the leading UK charity supporting dads, mums and grandparents to have personal contact and meaningful relationships with their children following parental separation since 1974.
https://www.facebook.com/groups/fathersjustice – Fathers Justice UK is an independent group where you can find FREE support & advice on seeing your children after separation & without the need to use a solicitor. Our whole purpose is to help you self-represent / be a Litigant in Person.