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Child Arrangement Order - process

(5 Posts)
giantpurplepeopleeater Thu 15-Jan-15 11:57:02

Hello all. I was wondering if anyone could fill me in on the process for obtaining a child arrangement order, and what I might expect.

My ex and I have an agreement in place - he sees DS from Nursery on friday to drop off at my parents on Sunday afternoon every other weekend, then all day Tuesday pick up and drop off from my parents.

[Background: The Tuesday was added a few weeks ago after some mediation, because I had been raising conerns about DS expressing dicomfort over contact arrangements and Ex ignoring my pleas to do something about it. The handover arrangements are as they are so that I don't have to have contact with the ex due to him getting aggressive/ verbally abusive at times, mostly if he has asked for changes to contact and I'm unabel to agree exactly what he wants.]

Ex has decided he is not happy with these arrangements anymore. We live roughly 20 miles apart and he has decided DS should go to school where he lives as both our families live closer to there. He also has decided that he thinks I don't provide the 'correct' routine for DS and have not made the right decision about schooling - despite declining an offer to be involved in schooling decisions at mediation. He's decided that for these reasons DS should go live with him, and he will be seeking a child arrangement order to that effect. There are no welfare concerns and we are not known to social services.

I'm not asking anyone for their views on how likely it is he will get what he wants, as I know its unpredictable, but can anyone advise on what the likely process will be once he files?

3xcookedchips Thu 15-Jan-15 12:18:03

When was the last time you went to mediation?

If it was a certain time since(I believe at least 6 months) you will be expected to attempt mediation before you go to court.

He can make the application and in the meantime you both go to mediation. If agreement can still not be reached then you head to court to the first hearing. Otherwise get the agreement formalised and vacate the upcoming hearing date.

It's generally advisable to avoid the court as you can end up with an order neither of you will be happy with.

CAFCASS will get involved at some point to make welfare checks and on the day and may try their own form of mediation. If you;re represented there may be to-ing and fro-ing between your sols/barristers to try and come to some compromise. This may mean you spend many hours more than the half hour the first hearing is listed for.

Good luck.

giantpurplepeopleeater Thu 15-Jan-15 12:24:05

Thank 3xcookedchips

The mediation we had was in October. We went to one initial meeting, and had one actual mediation session which ended amicably with an agreement as to what was going to happen, and how we would deal with issues going forward (this being the main problem - how we resolved issues between one another).

Unfortunately, now that something has happened where Ex didn't get his own way, the threats for court etc have come back again. Its something he does periodically. However I'm not backing down this time so I'm thinking it will end in court.

My view is that we've just changed contact arrangements, so this needs to bed down before we mess with it again. Plus he's not seeking more contact - he's seeking an order where DS will be removed from my care, placed in his and/or be ordered to attend a school near where he lives rather than near our home. I don't think either of these things would be in DS's best interests so am not prepared to agree to it.

giantpurplepeopleeater Thu 15-Jan-15 12:33:39

First hearing? Does that mean it takes more than one?

I'm assuming since it was October, he will look to skip the mediation discussion.

3xcookedchips Thu 15-Jan-15 13:03:30

if you come to an agreement while in court then yes it will be one hearing.

However, if there are still outstanding issues then the judge may list for a further hearing, a contested hearing and then maybe subsequent review hearings thereafter - subject to you both getting agreement on the schedule, etc...

Given the age of your child 4/5 then their needs may need to be met with evolving arrangements.

Him applying for residency is futile on his part based on what you have said.

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