Monday, 11 July 2016

I have made an application to family court for my daughter - what do I do now?

You have made an application to Court for a Child Arrangements Order – what happens now?

A referral will be made to CAFCASS (The Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service).  CAFCASS are a non-departmental public body in England set up to promote the welfare of children and families involved in family court. 

CAFCASS will undertake safeguarding checks with the Police and the Local Authority on all parties.  The CAFCASS officer will also have discussions with all parties usually over the telephone.  A short letter will be provided to the Court in advance of the first hearing with all information received and any recommendations for moving forward.

A First Hearing Dispute Resolution Appointment (FHDRA) will be listed.  All parties and the CAFCASS Officer will attend this hearing and be directed to attend in advance of the hearing to enable discussions to take place. 

The FHDRA is the first time the matter is before the Court.  It is hoped that an agreement could be reached with the assistance of CAFCASS.  If this is not possible then directions can be made to help the resolution of the application which can include whether any detailed assessments should be carried out, any expert involvement or whether the parties should file detailed statements.  The interim arrangements for the child will also need to be considered at this stage.

This article is for information only.

If you need help and detailed advice contact us on 0191 213 1010 or on

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